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Careerforce has launched the New Zealand Apprenticeship in Advanced Care and Support. The level 4, 122-126 credit programme is just one part of an effort to help address an ageing and overwhelmed aged care, and home & community workforce, further complicated by the impacts of COVID-19.

Workplaces will now have the option to choose between the Advanced Care and Support trainee programme which was earlier launched in 2021, or this new apprenticeship, depending on their staff’s needs.

Like the trainee programme, the apprenticeship is a two-year programme that leads to the awarding of the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Advanced Care and Support. Apprentices working in the aged care and home and community support sectors will develop the skills required to provide person-centred or relationship-centred care and support to people with complex needs.

Advanced Care and Support apprenticeship to help address ageing, overwhelmed workforce

two resthome caregivers talking

Caregivers at Christchurch’s Chatswood Retirement Village.

The launch of this apprenticeship comes after the March 2022 release of the biennial Aged Residential Care Industry Profile report, which identified a very high turnover of registered nurses at 48 percent compared to 33 percent in December 2019.

New Zealand Aged Care Association Chief Executive, Simon Wallace said, “Never before have we seen nurse departure of this scale and with a critically limited pool to recruit from, the sector really is at crisis point.

“Having a strong, capable and skilled caregiver workforce is imperative if providers are to continue to operate and provide a high standard of care to the more than 35,000 residents in care homes across the country.

“The volume and complexity of services we provide is increasing and when we do not have staff to provide this expert care vulnerable elderly are instead entering hospitals, putting extra pressure on an already burdened public health system.”

The Apprenticeship in Advanced Care and Support aims to alleviate the pressures of this registered nurse shortage by enhancing the leadership skills and competencies of healthcare assistants, support workers and team leaders working under the direction of a nurse or registered health professional.

Employers can now choose between the trainee programme and apprenticeship

In July 2021, Careerforce launched the 120-credit Advanced Care and Support trainee programme to replace the 70-credit Advanced Support programme. After much consultation with the health care sector, it was strongly recommended that the Advanced Support programme be significantly expanded and enhanced to reflect the increasingly complex needs of people being supported, and to enhance the leadership responsibilities of employees at this level.

The Advanced Care and Support trainee programme remains open for enrolments. However, with the option to instead enrol staff in the new apprenticeship programme, apprentices will be able to receive pastoral support and guidance from a Careerforce Apprenticeship Advisor. This extra support will be beneficial to workplaces that may not have the infrastructure for an in-house assessor.

Careerforce Chief Executive, Jane Wenman expects the new apprenticeship to be popular: “Since first launching in 2016, sector demand for our apprenticeship programmes has grown dramatically.

“We now support well over 2,300 apprentices across our health and wellbeing apprenticeship programmes, and expect the addition of this new Advanced Care and Support apprenticeship to be very well received by the aged care and home and community sectors,” she said.

Apprenticeship programme’s seven focus areas

The new apprenticeship is designed to allow a range of approaches to training. Apprentices can choose from one of seven focus areas of the programme, depending on the specific skills they need for their workplace. The focus areas are Bariatric Care, Dementia and Bariatric Care, Dementia and Brain Injury, Dementia and Frailty, Frailty, Palliative Care, and Spinal Injury Care.

Employers may also be eligible for the Government’s Apprenticeship Boost fund – designed to help employers retain and bring on new apprentices by providing them with up to $1000/month for each apprentice they enrol. This fund is currently available until August 2022. Additionally, and via the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF), Careerforce apprenticeship programmes are currently fees free for enrolments through to December 2022.

The online learning gives apprentices access to videos, interactive activities, and scenario-based learning. The learning is enhanced by guided online research to expand trainee knowledge.

For more information, visit the Apprenticeship in Advanced Care and Support page.