Ngāti Kāpo is a national Māori health and disability service provider that is driven by and for Māori disabled consumers and their families - kāpo Māori and their whānau.
Ngāti Kāpo is a member based society which is open to any person (disabled, able bodied, Māori and non Māori) who supports the vision, mission, purpose, aims and principles of the society.
Chrissie Cowan, executive officer Ngāti Kāpo, shares her story in her own words about using the Disability Workforce Development training directory to find opportunities for her staff.
Online training directory
In order to feel confident that any training is inclusive of Ngāti Kāpo staff and members we have traditionally looked to our own networks. We were initially a bit sceptical about looking outside of our own sector for the training we needed, but the launch of the online disability training directory seemed a good chance to investigate.
We have recently grown and expanded our services and felt that it was time to strengthen the communication skills of staff, which have always been important but have become even more vital as the range of supports we can offer to members and whanau has expanded.
To my surprise the directory was easy to use and generated good summary descriptions in the search results to help with making choices about what to examine in more detail. We were attracted to the trainer we chose, VV Training Ltd, as it was the only website that was accessible so that gave us a signal that the training may be accessible too.
The particular course we chose was called Customer Focus and included connecting with different personality types, professionalism, building rapport, and how to motivate. With a great sense of humour and a willingness to put herself out of her own comfort zone the facilitator, Vanessa, made a good connection with staff.
Training methods were all experiential and verbal so that Ngāti Kāpo staff were fully included. There was no reliance on visual materials at all.
I enjoyed the paperless environment."
I found the workshop brilliant - it helped me learn to be more open."
Excellent! The trainer treated everyone the same, drawing out each of our strengths."
Learning and applying techniques to use when speaking with members and external agencies was a brilliant confidence builder for me."
I felt very challenged, in a good way, because it (the training) enabled me to recognise changes I need to put in place when working with our members and my colleagues."
Outcomes from the course
Both Vanessa and I saw a growth in confidence in staff throughout the two-day training and an appreciation of the need to vary their communication with different people. In the short time since the course, I have also seen a change in the way staff communicate with each other and engage more fully with members on the phone.
I also found it valuable to have fresh eyes coming into the organisation that could see potential for future and further development. We really want to keep the momentum of this training going for staff but we can also see exciting options for our members to access similar training to build advocacy, assertiveness and communication skills that will assist them in living the life that they want.