A small day service provider in Christchurch has used funding from a Te Pou training grant to support staff to complete the National Certificate in Health, Disability and Aged Support.

Te Maramatanga ki Otautahi Trust is a very small Maori day service provider in Christchurch providing a tikanga based service. Three staff support whanau with a learning disability who attend Monday to Friday.  

Te Maramatanga is based at Ngā Hau e Whā National Marae. After the Canterbury Quakes, the team moved to another building on the same site. They might not have as much space as before, but that hasn’t squashed their style - although it has reduced the number of people they support to 12.

In February 2012, Te Maramatanga applied for a Te Pou training grant for their three staff to complete the National Certificate in Health, Disability and Aged Support (Core Competencies) Level 3.

They engaged a facilitator and assessor to support their study, and scheduled fortnightly sessions for learning and discussion, with self-directed learning in between.

Sherilyn Brown, centre manager, said they found the facilitator input very worthwhile.  “It helped us reflect on what we were learning and doing, and she [the facilitator] kept pushing us so we didn’t get bored.”  

One team member said she had found the resource books helpful, and continues to refer to them still.

Throughout the course, the team were relieved to know that much of their approach was considered best practice, such as sitting when they speak with someone if that person is also sitting. When they did the Maori units, they realised that it was all integral to what they normally do, and “that made us feel good”.

They learned more about individual planning, and have initiated weekly one-on-one sessions for each person they support. During these planning sessions they talk to the person about what they like to do and what they want to do. Activities usually involve community participation, for example joining a choir or making a trip to the library to use a computer or look at books. This has become an integral part of the week’s activity choices - “now everyone has their say”.

During the training sessions, they considered some scenarios which “helped identify what we did right and what we could improve on”. The final module was about listening and the staff became aware of how often they finish a sentence for someone during a conversation, rather than giving them time to finish. They now give each person time to complete what they are saying.

The staff at Te Maramatanga found the training to be “really worthwhile”. They are now considering options for further training and development.