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Quality of Care. Employee motivation. Staff retention.

Those were the top three reasons Glenwood Masonic Hospital Facility Manager, Denise McAlpine says motivates them to invest in supporting career and training pathways for their staff.

The charity-run facility has committed to upskilling their staff with qualifications across all occupations and levels to ensure a high standard of care. Glenwood Masonic has over ninety percent of their staff either qualified with, or working towards a relevant qualification.

‘We give them the opportunity, we make it easy and try to remove as many barriers as possible,’ shared McAlpine.

She says that supporting many of their staff to complete qualifications at level 4 was one of the tricky decisions that has paid off.

‘I see the staff that completed Advanced Support Level 4 thinking outside the box now and they’ve improved their performance, and increased their own aspirations and self-worth.’

Keri Knight, Kitchenhand – Glenwood Masonic Hospital

There’s a significant portion of staff in the organisation who have been with Glenwood for over 10 years. One of them is Yvonne Mackey who has been a Healthcare Assistant for 14 years. She completed the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Advanced Support, Level 4) through Careerforce.

Mackey says the qualification is very relevant to her role. ‘It’s about what we do every day and about what we know. I also learned about dementia and handling challenging situations, and when you’re faced with these, it all comes back to the fore.’

She is grateful to Glenwood for the opportunity. ‘Not all facilities would pay and support staff to complete Level 4. I do think it has made people step up and take more pride in their work, taking on more responsibility and so it’s very worthwhile.’

Racheal Dickson on the other hand, was given the opportunity to pathway from being a cleaner, to working in the kitchen. A year and half ago, she became the Kitchen Manager and she recently completed a New Zealand Certificate in Business (First Line Management, Level 4) on-the-job, also through Careerforce.

‘I grew up in hospitality. Mum was a chef. Dad was a butcher. But I’ve always loved the management side of things so it fits ideally with where I wanted to be,’ shares Dickson.

It’s been 20 years since Dickson last studied, and while a bit anxious to begin training, in the end she has found it really worthwhile.

‘I’m more aware of what I’m doing,  how I’m doing it, and why I’m doing it. I’ve also set the kitchen up so if someone was to walk into my job, they will know exactly what’s happening, and where to go to from there.’

Glenwood’s investment in providing career and training pathways is underpinned by a strong training culture and infrastructure.

‘We have a person dedicated to supporting training part-time who also works on the floor. This works well, but we highlight that it is a shared responsibility. We follow up with them and ask about their progress, but remind them that they also have to do their part,’ McAlpine says.

Peggy Ruback, an Enrolled Nurse and Nurse Educator, has been with the organisation for 22 years and supports the training at Glenwood, and  agrees training is very important.

She says, ‘We are here to look after residents and they all deserve good care. You want the residents to be looked after how you would like to be looked after and how you would like your mum and dad to be looked after. Really, that’s the most important thing.’

Ruback also believes workplace training is key to staff retention. ‘I mean to be given that opportunity to be working and also training, what an added bonus because pay-wise it’s such a help.’

‘I think our staff work well because they’re gaining confidence either by getting the qualification or they’ve achieved a qualification. They feel really good about themselves. They know what to do and why they do it,’ adds Ruback.


Find out more about qualification pathways for the Aged Care sector.