Hauora | Health

Healthcare and social assistance is a large employer in the region and is forecast to be one of our largest growing sectors over the next 15 years [8]. There are longstanding shortages across most healthcare roles and there is limited training available in the region across all parts of the health sector. We need to ensure we have the workforce to meet this demand. According to a 2022 report on the health and aged care sector commissioned by NMIT | Te Pūkenga, employment is forecast to grow faster in Marlborough than in Nelson Tasman [9], an important consideration for training providers and Te Whatu Ora – Heath New Zealand Nelson Marlborough.

Demand for health and aged residential care workers is expected to grow in Marlborough, partly due to:

  • our ageing population
  • the new Summerset Development
  • the redevelopment of many of our rest homes.

The NMIT | Te Pūkenga report estimates that by 2027 an additional 117 Registered Nurses, 8 Nurse Managers, and 8 Enrolled Nurses will be required in Marlborough. The report also notes that future demand is primarily for workers with qualifications at Level 7 of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) or above, with NZQF level 1 to 3 certificate qualifications also expected to be in high demand.

Migrants currently fill the skills and labour gaps. The former Nelson Marlborough District Health Board estimated that 40% of their Registered Nurses were on a visa, as were 25% of caregivers.

In this sector there is a tendency towards part-time employment, or less than 40 hours a week and that can lead to worker underutilisation. Additionally, the number of replacement job openings per annum is consistently higher than the number of new jobs being created in the sector [10].

There is a lack of a sound evidence base for Marlborough to inform decision making and monitor change. NMIT | Te Pūkenga’s report provides a useful evidence base, but it is a one-off, standalone report that will quickly become out of date. Additionally, this report was developed independently of Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand, and new models of care such as the expansion of Healthcare Assistant and Enrolled Nursing roles could make a big difference to the staffing requirements for these roles.

Our recommendations for Health and Aged Care education and training in Marlborough

  • Invest in the establishment and delivery of a Bachelor of Nursing course in Blenheim. Currently students studying a Bachelor of Nursing with NMIT | Te Pūkenga complete their first year in Blenheim (blended delivery model), then they are required to travel to Nelson for years 2 and 3 of the programme.
  • Maintain the delivery of New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation Hauora Pathway for Health in Blenheim. This programme helps prepare candidates applying for the Bachelor of Nursing and other health-related qualifications.
  • Invest in local delivery, distance/online learning, and/or block courses delivered in Marlborough to improve access to health workforce related courses and training. In particular, midwifery, phlebotomy, social work, and postgraduate nursing qualifications.
  • Support collaboration to meet the varied needs of Marlborough’s learners and employers.
  • Invest in support for employers and staff overseeing work-based learning. Employers in our region report ongoing challenges supporting work-based learning.
  • Invest in delivery in Marlborough for the replacement model for the Competency Assessment Programme for internationally qualified nurses.


[8] Infometrics Regional Skills Outlook, Skills in Demand: Industry

[9] NMIT | Te Pūkenga, Vocational Education and Workforce Planning in the Health and Aged Care Sector in Te Tauihu August 2022, unpublished, prepared by Alistair Schorn, Aotearoa Development Insights.

[10] Infometrics Regional Skills Outlook, Skills in Demand: Industry, Healthcare and Social Assistance Job Openings, accessed May 2023

Last updated: 20 June 2023