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Wanaka based Service Coordinator, Emily Black, loves helping people make big changes in their lives. “I like hearing the success stories from staff about the work they’re doing for the clients they support,” says Emily.

Emily started at Pact as a community support worker in 2020, supporting people with a mental health or intellectual disability. Now Emily is a direct line manager for a team of 13 staff across Otago and Southland who help support these people to lead fulfilling lives.

Emily Black

Thanks to a Careerforce work-based leadership programme, and the support and encouragement from her employer Pact, Emily is developing her skills further by completing the New Zealand Diploma in Leadership and Management (Level 5).

“It’s awesome! I’m excited to see where my career could lead with it.” says Emily.

“There’s so much success…We’ve been able to make a big change.”

Pact has 470 staff across the country who support around 1300 people with a variety of needs, including those recovering from mental illness, having a physical or intellectual disability, or overcoming an alcohol and other drug or gambling addiction.

In her role, Emily coordinates adult and youth mental health community support services in Queenstown and the Central Otago region. She also has staff working in an ‘Access and Choice’ programme which offers mental health support in a primary care setting.

“’Access and Choice’ is about targeting early intervention and prevention. There’s no waiting list, no role referral criteria, and you don’t need a diagnosis.  There has been so much individual success and so many examples where we’ve alleviated some of that stress.  We’ve been able to make a big change.

“I coordinate 13 health coaches and community support workers based in GP practices across Otago and Southland. Much of the job is supporting staff and ensuring that the support they provide means their clients are doing well,” says Emily.

Business Diploma programme helps Emily be a better leader

Emily had been looking at Industry Training Organisation Careerforce’s website for training ideas, when her manager forwarded her an email about the Level 5 Diploma Programme, suggesting it would be really beneficial for her.

“Anything that can help me be a better leader and improve the performance of the team would also benefit me in my role, so I jumped at the opportunity. Knowing that they fully supported me to do it was great,” says Emily.

Careerforce Assessor, Regan Cotter, supported Emily through her Diploma. “It’s been great, he has been really supportive. We’ll just meet and go through a module.  Between our catch ups if there is a question, I just email, and he gives me great advice and feedback.

“It’s different to traditional methods of study.  It takes into account your experiences and what you are doing day to day,” says Emily.

“It has been really good in terms of reflecting on what I’m doing well and what I might need to improve. It’s so easy to tick along each day, and not actually ask, ‘what can I be doing better, to support my team?’”.

“In one of the modules early on there was a lot about the team and how as a leader you support the team, and improve team performance. It was a really good module for me to learn about team building and team connection and to see how my role creates a cohesive team.”

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and how you can improve is key

Emily adds “it’s awesome. You start to understand who you are as a leader and how a team can work. It was really interesting to learn about self-reflection, knowing your strengths and weaknesses and learning what areas you could be improving on as well.

“I’m always looking for new opportunities to learn and develop my skills – It can be really challenging, but I’m excited about where my career could lead because there are so many opportunities out there.”


More information

Find out more information about the New Zealand Diploma in Leadership and Management (Level 5) programme.

There are no enrolment fees for workplaces wishing to enrol their staff into Careerforce business programmes before 31 December 2022.