Motueka High School leaver, Brigid Creagh is beginning her dream career in healthcare. She says doing Gateway programme while in school gave her a distinct advantage.
“I did my research and then talked to one of my teachers about doing Gateway and they recommended doing it through Careerforce. I knew that if I wanted to be a healthcare assistant for a year, it would benefit me to work towards the health and wellbeing level 3 qualification.” She started a programme leading to the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Health Assistance) Level 3 with the support of Industry Training Organisation, Careerforce.
You can say that healthcare runs in Brigid’s blood. Her dad is a paramedic with St John’s in Motueka and her mum is a nursing manager. She says, “I have always had the passion and it’s a dream career to then follow into nursing.”
But her strategy was not to go in blind. She wanted to work as a healthcare assistant (HCA) first before pursuing her nursing degree, and she is currently working at Nelson Hospital’s surgical ward.
“While I was still in school, I had an email from a Nelson Hospital Allied Health team member through Careerforce asking if I would be interested in becoming an HCA. At the time, I was 100% interested but I had already applied for a couple of other HCA jobs, also at the hospital. I got an interview for a healthcare assistant job on the surgical ward and so I had to weigh up what my interests were. I made the hard decision to choose the surgical ward because that’s where my interests lie.”
Her dream is to work in the emergency department as a trauma nurse. Brigid shares, “I’ve grown up with the stories of what it’s like and have always been so interested in that. Having my parents work in the field really does help. I’m really lucky I’ve got supportive parents and they are very happy to have a daughter following in their footsteps into the medical field.”
A very motivated young woman, Brigid did a lot of juggling for time and responsibilities. While still at school, and completing a Gateway programme, she also maintained a part-time job.
“But I wanted to do it, it’s a dream and I was very lucky my school was really accommodating so I did a lot of my Gateway papers during my school time. And then it would just involve a couple of hours each week just to sit down and nail the assessment. They’re not massive papers. I found them quite straightforward and really easy to understand.”
With a qualification under her belt, she is enjoying her job as an HCA while learning along the way in preparation for her next steps.
“I love coming to work every single day. Every day, there is somebody different or people with different conditions or different needs. I work with amazing people who have different medical backgrounds that I can learn from. I get to work with passionate people who are all focused on getting our patients better and healthy, and ready for discharge.”
Brigid encourages students to enrol in Gateway programmes while at school. “I would encourage anybody that has an interest, even if it’s the smallest of interest. They will do their best to get you onto a programme because you never know you might end up like me and love it, and end up in a paid job where you get to do what you love every single day.”
“In healthcare you don’t find very many under 20-year-old’s working in a surgical unit. I think it’s really cool to work here – to know every day that you are waking up and you’re helping somebody.”
Careerforce offers Gateway programme packages that allow students to experience the diverse opportunities available to them, and potentially forge their careers in the health, social and community sectors.
Check out the following link for more information about Gateway for high school students.