Tautiakitanga noho kāinga | Aged residential care

An elderly man talks with a caregiver in the lounge area of a retirement village.

© Oceania

Around 500 people in Marlborough are employed directly in the Aged Residential Care sector (ARC) in a range of roles from caring roles (nurses and carers/ kaiāwhina) and non-care roles (cleaners, activity co-ordinators, cooks). There is growing demand within the sector due to our ageing population, the new Summerset Development and the redevelopment of many of our rest homes.

There are current and longstanding skill shortages across most roles in the sector. Despite this, a lot of employees are not contracted to work full time or are only working 32 hours a week. This may mean the workforce is not fully utilised.

While there is reform of the health system underway, there is an opportunity to look at what we can do locally to solve skills shortages and prepare for the growing demand.

Challenges and opportunities

  • Demand is growing in the sector as our population ages
  • The sector provides quality employment with clear career pathways in some instances
  • Reform of health sector advocates for people working to top of scope
  • There is currently a skills and labour shortages across a variety of roles
  • Attraction and retention of staff is difficult as people are often attracted to larger centres or higher paid roles. There is a turnover rate of 30% across the industry
  • Migrants fill the skills and labour gaps, and Aged Residential Care nurse is on the long-term skills shortage list. Forty per cent of Registered Nurses in the Nelson Marlborough DHB are on a visa, as are one quarter of our caregivers.
  • The tendency towards part time employment, or that of less than 40 hours a week, can lead to people being underutilised. Employment is usually on a “four days on four days off” model which can be a barrier for people that require childcare
  • Training for nursing is not on offer locally and there is also no local training to transfer international qualifications
  • Training for caring roles through Careerforce is offered online only. This is a barrier for some people.

Cross cutting challenges

  • Perceptions of industry
  • Connection between schools and industry
  • Career pathways
  • Attraction to Marlborough
  • Awareness of the opportunities.

Immediate actions

  • Support health training provision in Marlborough.
  • Support implementation of the 2021 Marlborough workforce plan in collaboration with Toitū te Waiora. Five workstreams: perceptions, pathways, pay and condition, regional recruitment and connections with schools

Progress to date

  • Workshop with local ARC providers, education providers and government agencies to identify local issues and develop solutions.
  • Marlborough ARC workforce plan developed. As a result, NMIT committed to running local nursing course, schools have connected with ARC providers, and people have been placed in employment.

Key regional facts

Filled jobs

About 500




Nurses level 7 bachelor’s degree and extra training Carers/ kaiāwhina training offered up to level 5.

Local training

Careerforce (level 2-5). Some workplaces also offer their own training.

Migrant labour

40% of Registered Nurses in the Nelson Marlborough DHB are on a visa, as are one quarter of our caregivers

36% of Residential Care Services workforce


Wider health sector is 85% female

Māori/Non-Māori participation rates the same

Future growth

About 400 in ARC

Relevant plans

Developing the Health and Disability Kaiāwhina Workforce(external link) — Kaiāwhina