NGO workforce development
New Zealand has one of the largest mental health and addiction NGO sectors in the world, delivering a wide range of community based support services that account for one third of the total national mental health expenditure. Over 300 diverse mental health and addiction community organisations have developed services that are recovery focused, people centred, culturally responsive and are linked to reducing social inequalities to improve the overall health of people living with a mental illness and/or addiction.
The community workforce is one of the largest workforce groups in the sector and usually has the most contact with people that use services. It is currently estimated that over 50 different occupations are working in mental health and addiction support services across Aotearoa. The NgOIT 2007 Workforce Survey identified that 77 per cent of support workers had undergraduate certificates or diplomas, postgraduate qualifications or degrees and there were a number of registered health professionals employed in support services.
Future mental health and addiction service development will depend on robust workforce planning for the community workforce. The sector will need to choose the most useful tools, practices and developments to support the complexity and diversity of this workforce. Workforce development for the community sector is fundamental to the success of recovery focused, community based mental health and addiction services
Supporting People Supporting Change
Te Pou is committed to building a strong and enduring workforce to deliver mental health and addiction services.
To understand some of the community workforce development needs, Te Pou developed the workshops ‘Supporting People Supporting Change’. Eight workshops were held across Aotearoa from September to November 2009. Workshop participants came from 131 NGOs and represented over a third of the mental health and addiction community sector. The intention of the workshops was to provide an insight to the emerging workforce themes.
The Supporting People Supporting Change document provides an overview of the workshops and gives insight to the emerging themes for the mental health and addiction community workforce.
Te Pou worked in collaboration with Framework Trust and WALSH Trust to identify, interview and develop the profiles of two community support workers to be featured on the Healthcareers website www.healthcareers.org.nz, which was developed to promote health as a career option.
National support work summits
Te Pou continues to develop a comprehensive profile of the support worker role and create a picture of the emerging development of this key workforce group.
National support work summits were held in September 2007 and March 2009. The summits were designed and run in collaboration between Platform, Te Pou and the Ministry of Health.
National support work summit 2009
The national support work summit held in March 2009 provided the opportunity for some 130 support workers, sector leaders, ITOs and education providers to participate in a number of workshops and create discussion about the workforce opportunities and challenges for the role of support work in Aotearoa.
All workshop information collected at the summit is available at the Aotearoa Mental Health and Addiction Support Workers website (sign in required).
National support work summit 2007
In September 2007 120 support workers from throughout the country gathered in Wellington. Participants included educators, DHB funders, the ITO Careerforce, NGO managers and leaders, union representatives and workforce centre representatives.
The findings of the summit were published in the Performance Story Report, which combines programme logic and stories of significant change to describe the progress and performance of support work using multiple voices and multiple lines of evidence. Vignettes from the report are available on the Platform website.
The challenge for Te Pou has been to find ways to engage with the mental health and addiction community sector through the guidance of the following documents.
- An Evaluation of the National Certificate in Mental Health (Mental Health Support Work), Case Consulting, 2003.
- Work in Practice, Platform, 2004.
- Health Practitioner Competence Assurance Act and the Disability, Mental Health and Addiction NGO Sector, Platform, 2005.
- NgOIT 2007 Workforce survey, Platform, 2007.
- NgOIT 2008 NGO-DHB Contracting Environment, Platform, 2008.
- Performance Story Report, Platform, 2008.
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