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Manurewa Claimant Support Specialist, Tomasi Fale works in the Ministry of Social Development’s (MSD) Historic Claims Department, supporting people who have suffered abuse or neglect in state care.

“I help people face the challenges that happened in their life, so they are able to move on with their life journey,” says Tomasi.

The Claims Department determine eligibility for people who were in state care and who believe that they suffered abuse or neglect during their time there. Victims and survivors seek redress which can take the form of financial compensation, emotional or psychological support, accountability for those responsible, acknowledgement and apology for abuse.

Thanks to a leadership programme from work-based training provider Careerforce, and the support and encouragement from MSD, Tomasi has honed his management skills in the Claims Department by completing his New Zealand Diploma in Business (Level 5) Leadership and Management.

This success comes after Tomasi earlier completed an Apprenticeship in Mental Health and Addiction Support, also with Careerforce.

Tomasi Fale with Careerforce General Manager Employer Services, Stephanie Clark and Careerforce Executive Director, Rod Bentham at the Careerforce Pacific Celebration of Success

Level 5 diploma can help learners move forward in their career

“I’m so grateful to Careerforce for all this learning. It’s probably one of the best ways to equip myself in my role, and help me move forward within my career path,” says Tomasi.

“For a lot of these people, who have had a past that is really not good, they are stuck in a particular mindset and have a hard time moving on.

“Once they come to the claims process, we are able to assist them.  We help them to explain what really happened and face the challenges resulting from when they were in state care. I can assist them through the claims process, towards an outcome that might involve a financial payment. As people explain their experience in state care, I can also identify whether there is a need for counselling or other areas of support.

“I definitely enjoy helping these individuals to be able to move on with their journey in life.”

Tomasi credits his mother for giving him his thirst for acquiring knowledge. “My family, especially my mother believes in taking as many opportunities as possible to further your education, understanding and knowledge.”

Tomasi learnt about the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management while completing the Apprenticeship in Mental Health and Addiction Support with Careerforce, and was keen to enrol.

The Diploma is a 20-month part-time work-based learning programme completed via an online learning and assessment platform. Enrolments are taken throughout the year, and each learner is assigned a dedicated leadership and management coach for the duration of the programme. 

Tomasi says the biggest takeaway for him has been learning how managing external factors impact the business operation.

“Changes in Government and changes in policies can really affect our organisation, e.g. funding of claimant’s sessions. When things change, you just have to roll with it and manage it, but it’s also good to understand why it changes.

“The Leadership Diploma was very different from my regular area of expertise. It helped me understand how to manage a business and think about all the things you have to manage, especially the external factors.”

Leadership programme includes plenty of support from Careerforce

All diploma learners are assigned a Careerforce assessor who supports them with one-on-one coaching. Tomasi was assigned to assessors John Kenny, and then Jeannie Walker, on John’s retirement.

“Both of them were great. They were very supportive when I wasn’t quite sure what the assessment was looking for in some of the questions.

“That constant communication back and forth really helped me personally, knowing I had their support to help me keep up with my modules or keep working on an assignment.”  

Tomasi also received support from his manager who checked in, and asked if he needed anything, such as offering time off for study.

Diploma increases confidence in understanding the business

“Gaining the diploma has increased my confidence. Now I have this diploma, it allows me to prepare myself in a way that I can potentially move to a higher position within the organisation. Knowing how to manage a business or a department is a great thing to know, and that helps me move forward in my career path.

“If anyone is thinking about doing further educational development, the Diploma in Leadership is a great programme to do. It really does help you understand the functions within a business or organisation and what things to look out for and to prepare for. This is probably one of the best ways to equip yourself, to prepare for those changes within a business.”

Tomasi is keen to continue with his studies. Aside from the Careerforce programmes, Tomasi also has a degree in criminology under his belt. Now he has his sights set on a masters degree, if the opportunity comes up, or if his circumstances change.

“For now, I’m just grateful to Careerforce for all this learning. When I do pursue a masters degree, all of this learning, the Level 4 Apprenticeship and the Level 5 Diploma will all have contributed to my learning to support the masters programme.”

Tomasi attended a Careerforce graduation event for Pacific graduates in April, to celebrate learner success. “In the Polynesia culture it is not only the individual, but the individual’s family who supported them, who celebrate at these occasions. It was really nice, a thoughtful and genuine occasion.”

More information

Careerforce is a work-based training provider for the health and wellbeing sectors.  For more information about the New Zealand Diploma in Business (Level 5) Leadership and Management, contact Careerforce.