Craig Stewart of Christchurch Public Hospital became the first orderly in the country to achieve New Zealand’s first ever orderly qualification, the National Certificate in Health, Disability and Aged Support (Orderlies) Level 3. Two and a half years later, he has supported 91 orderlies from Christchurch Public Hospital and Burwood Hospital to achieve their National and New Zealand Certificates. “Achieving the orderly qualification in 2014 was a major achievement for me because I hadn’t done any formal training since 1969 when I left school,” shares Craig.

Craig’s journey from being an Orderly to Orderly Educator/Assessor

Craig already had 15 years of experience when he was offered the opportunity to get his skills recognised and get qualified through workplace training. He was initially unsure if he could do any training or studying again – having left school 40 years ago. He adds, “Once I got into it, I really enjoyed it and passed! So glad I’ve done that.”

After that, he was given an assessor role. Assessors are an important part of the workplace training cycle. They oversee the formal marking process and provide mentoring and support to their trainees in the workplace. In this new role, Craig realised that he needed more tools to be able to help his colleagues get through their training and to be more valuable to them. Some of them had literacy and numeracy difficulties. So along with other educators from Christchurch District Health Board (CDHB), he studied and completed the National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (NCALNE) Level 5 with the support of Careerforce.

The further learning allowed Craig to address the different learning support needs of his colleagues. He learned new teaching methods and tools to ensure they were well supported to succeed in their own training journeys. Craig explains his approach, “Some learn in different ways. Some learn by verbalising, some can’t comprehend, and then some can’t write it down. You have to approach the person with an open mind and look at them and say, ‘okay where are your strengths?’ and you work on their strengths. Then turn to them and say, ‘righto we’ve got that sussed, let’s look at what you think is your weakness. How do we fix that?’”

His trainees learned to trust him and opened up to him and they gave him insight into their educational background and how they got to where they are.

Charissa Theyers, CDHB Orderly shares, “The support I received was amazing. I got all the help I needed. Sometimes I’m not very good at putting what I know into words on paper. Craig was awesome with helping with that.”

With Craig’s help and the support of the CDHB management, the orderlies were completing their training much quicker and training has been made more accessible.

Craig during his own graduation in October 2014

The difference training, having a qualification and badge have made

Alan Heney, Orderly Services Manager is very proud of his staff who persevered despite the challenges they encountered along the way. “The way they do their job now compared to before they did the orderly qualification, you can see the professionalism in them and the confidence they have now,” says Alan. “They are more proactive and they just want to deliver a good service, a high quality service that we’ve been asking for. I certainly think achieving the qualification helped in that manner.”

Craig adds, “They feel that they’ve learnt skills they didn’t have. They know the importance of interaction with other staff, the de-escalation techniques, and how to communicate with other staff. They’re more aware of policies and procedures than they were before. They can relate back to the whole system not just what they’re doing but how it all interconnects.” He found that his colleagues found renewed confidence in themselves and their roles. They have realised that they are a valuable asset to CDHB and are part of the wider health system.

At the orderlies’ graduation ceremony held on 24 February 2017, over 40 orderlies from Christchurch Public Hospital and Burwood Hospital were awarded their certificates. There was so much excitement and pride from these orderlies. Craig said that having the qualification and badge to wear gave the orderlies more credibility. It lets people know that they are properly qualified to do their job.

CDHB investing in orderly qualification training is an investment to better health outcomes

Andrew Saunders, Manager Employer Services at Careerforce highlighted the alignment of visions between the CDHB and Careerforce in his speech at the graduation ceremony. Both organisations are committed to providing better health outcomes to the community. He said, “You (CDHB) do that by providing great care and service to the community, and we do it by supporting you in training the people who are delivering that care and service.”

The CDHB has invested in training many of their support staff including the orderlies, health assistants, dental assistants and cleaners. They recognise that the ongoing demands placed on these support roles require them to improve their skills and knowledge to better support health professionals and their patients. Alan Heney acknowledged this saying, “There is no way we could have achieved that if we didn’t have that support behind us. We’ve had to allow some time for training and we’ve had to allow some time for the assessors to do their job. We’ve had trainers having to train. So if we didn’t have the backing of the Canterbury District Health Board, there’s no way we could have ever achieve what we’ve done.”

A further 15 orderlies are scheduled to undergo training soon at the Christchurch Public Hospital and 17 orderlies at Burwood Hospital.

CDHB Orderlies Graduation on 24 February 2017

Read more:
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) Orderly Services Strand
Find other New Zealand Qualifications for your organisation
Find out how we can support your trainees and your organisation with your Literacy and Numeracy needs

How can we help you?
Contact us to discuss how Careerforce’s flexible workplace training programmes can work for your organisation. Give us a call at 0800 277 486 or send us a message at to have a Careerforce Advisor get in touch with you.


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