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Auckland’s Spectrum Care wants to make more of a difference for people with disabilities, with their new training programme for Senior Support Workers.

Photo: Spectrum Training Coordinator Dorlé van der Westhuizen (left) and Karon Edmondson meet with Careerforce’s Deb White (right) to discuss training.

The first intake of 11 staff will pilot the Level 4 Senior Support training from October 9.

“We’re excited, and the great thing is we have 105 staff on the list who want to do it,” says Training Coordinator Dorlé van der Westhuizen. “They’re keen to take their learning to the next level.”

Spectrum Care’s 700+ staff provide a range of support for people with disabilities and their families. Some have high needs and require full time support, and some live independently and their support helps them to participate in the community and achieve their goals.

Spectrum’s ‘Outcomes’ philosophy is about tapping into the strengths and potential of the individuals they support. Their vision is: people with disabilities living great lives.

“We live and breathe our vision and values here, and our training is all about providing the best possible support for our people,” says Dorlé. “Our staff are all in a training from day one. Foundation Skills is part of their induction and they progress to level 3 Core Competencies. It’s great to now have a career pathway onto Level 4.

“The training gives our workers skills, values and knowledge around inclusion and advocacy. The way they project that knowledge in their work is amazing – they’re solutions focused.”

Workplace Assessor Karon Edmondson says it’s amazing to go through the training programme with their employees and see them reach graduation. “They feel really proud when they achieve a qualification. It’s not easy, and many have to overcome barriers, such as language or different learning strengths – so it’s wonderful to witness their confidence and pride when they get there.”

Karon says the Level 4 training will strengthen the depth of knowledge and challenge workers to think more broadly about how to help make more of a difference to people’s lives.

“We want to see emerging leaders who influence the organisation. We’d like to see these people put themselves forward and influence the wider disability sector.

“The best thing about my job is the knowledge that I’m part of this great process, where the people I am working with will go back and make life better for others.”