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Christchurch based SkillWise works with people with an intellectual disability and their families.

Through training, new experiences and connecting with people, SkillWise focuses on the ‘individual’ and how they can connect to a wide range of possibilities and the community.

Having the right skills and access to opportunities gives these people the power of personal choice, a sense of identity and the ability to form meaningful connections.

SkillWise staff use the PATH approach for personal planning, learnt at a Careerforce supported training session

During a recent SkillWise Planning Week, where staff focused on Professional Development, ‘students became the teachers’.  Two community facilitators, Frank Manzano and Ruchita Parekh facilitated a workshop for 18 SkillWise staff.

Frank and Ruchita are both currently studying towards the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) supported by Careerforce.  Their day to day job involves providing support to assist people with intellectual disabilities become active community members.

“At these PD sessions, we talk about the training we have all done and update our colleagues with information learned at different training workshops we have attended,” says SkillWise Community Facilitator Tracey-Anne Cook.

“Frank and Ruchita had covered the PATH training in their Careerforce training and put it into practice a couple of times with people they have supported. They were very keen to share the process with us all.

“Staff were really interactive, and ‘sparking off each other and the person in the plan’, says Tracey-Anne.

The PATH technique is an example of one of the many different approaches to personal planning.

PATH means ‘Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope’ and it records a person’s dreams and positive and possible goals.   It charts a ‘time-lined’ action plan that includes those people who will join the person in achieving their goals and dreams. PATH is particularly useful when a team is ‘stuck’ or has a problem to solve. PATH starts by looking at what a person wants for their future, and subsequently develops a plan to reach the desired future goals.

“Frank and Ruchita were able to engage all the staff to help develop a plan. Wild ideas were acknowledged, and we were encouraged to explore ways to take each idea and break it into small chunks, develop achievable goals and plan steps to achieve those goals. At the end of the session the staff member whose dream it was, stated that she really felt it was very achievable!

“They showed a great level of understanding of the process for the PATH and facilitated some chaotic suggestions extremely well!”

More information about the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) can be found here:

New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing Level 3