Pacific Homecare is a Charitable Trust organisation providing home-based support services throughout South Auckland to the disabled and elderly community.
Glenys Tremain, corporate manager, tells us about their highly successful workforce training strategy which has given staff the confidence, skills, motivation and has lead to the successful completion of NZQA qualifications.
At Pacific Homecare, we are moving towards our vision of ’healthier communities through love, care and professionalism’ by raising the quality of care we give our elderly and disabled clients. In order to achieve this vision we recognised the need to develop our workforce – this includes our support workers, service coordinators, managers and administrators.
Training and development journey
In a sector which is largely unregulated in terms of support worker qualifications, we see the training and development of our staff as a key strategy in our business. Personal and professional growth of our staff raises the quality and widens the understanding of the roles they perform within Pacific Homecare. It also encourages commitment and enjoyment in the roles they play within their families and the community.
Since early 2011 we have been on a journey to build the skills and capabilities of our workforce. English is a second language for 90 per cent of Pacific Homecare staff so addressing the ESOL needs of our Pacific staff was the first priority.
Literacy training is not only about improving reading and writing skills, it is integral in lifting the quality of service we provide our clients and in fostering staff engagement and productivity.
The Learning Wave
Working with The Learning Wave, we secured Workplace Literacy funding to enable us to better understand the ESOL, numeracy, and literacy challenges facing our staff. We also developed a number of learning interventions to help address these needs. These programmes have so far been delivered to around 80 of our 250 staff during the last 18 months. The results have been fantastic.
The Learning Wave applied an embedded literacy approach, integrating literacy skill, development, and teaching into a practical learning.
Our focus has been on developing skills and confidence so that our staff are better able to:
- read, understand, and complete necessary reporting, paperwork and workplace documents
- communicate effectively with clients and peers
- strengthen the cultural appropriateness and responsiveness of our work culture
- promote a focus of continuous improvement in their work and community lives
- increase internal (among employees) communication and engagement
- improve the quality of service delivery to our clients.
Three core programmes
We have three core programmes: Everyday Leaders, Driving Excellence and Pacific Pathways. These are specific to each group of learners. As a management team we wanted our staff to understand:
- why we were undertaking this learning journey
- what they could expect to learn
- how this would help them in their roles at work and outside of work.
These learning programmes had an immediate impact. It gave staff the opportunity to learn new skills and practice new strategies in their work and home life in a safe and positive learner-focused environment.
One Cook Island trainee commented:
“I now understand my son’s school curriculum.”
This powerful statement acknowledges a closer affinity and understanding between mother and son and also the improved ability to express herself using a 'tricky' word like curriculum.
Looking to the future
We know that what we have achieved in the last 18 months will have a lasting impact on our business, our staff, their families and our communities that we serve in.
Our long-term learning strategy is to continue to grow our own internal capability and to continue to look at opportunities to support the on-going training and development of all our staff.
Pacific Homecare acknowledges the support and investment from Te Pou in furthering these training and development opportunities.
Assistance from Te Pou enabled us to:
- engage The Learning Wave to train our coordinators to better lead and support our care workers in their roles
- engage the Learning Wave to conduct executive coaching sessions
- Begin building internal training capability to qualify 100 care workers in the National Certificate in Health, Disability and Aged Support (Foundation skills) Level 2 by September 2013.
We are excited about this transformation through continued education.