Hauora and hapori whānau health and communities
The health of our people continues to remain a strategic focus for Te Purunga ki Te Raki RSLG. Encouraging participation and ensuring completion of health training programmes, including tailored pastoral care/awhi is key to ensuring our people can pursue a rewarding career in health. Te Purunga ki Te Raki RSLG has observed that through increased members’ facilitation, collaboration and sharing insights, there is already a broader provision of health programmes including a Māori Bachelor of Nursing, podiatry, and occupational therapy programmes. Apprenticeships that enable ākonga to ‘earn and learn’ are expanding. A core success factor is that delivery extends beyond Whangārei; it now stretches across Kerikeri, Ngāwhā and Kaitaia campuses.
Why does health remain compelling for the region to address?
There are hauora/health inequities across the regions particularly for Māori and Pasifika whose difference in life expectancy and experience of illness is stark compared to Pākehā.*
*By 2043, the Pasifika population in Taitokerau is expected to grow from 4% to 7%: Subnational ethnic population projections: 2018(base)–2043(external link) — Stats NZ
An increasing population presents a challenge for a sector already experiencing critical skills shortages
Our population is growing, particularly Pākehā over 65 years of age and Māori under 14 years of age, adding pressure to the already overburdened health system. Many also live rurally and in remote communities and attracting workers to these remote communities can be a further challenge. Infometrics estimate that by 2028 Taitokerau will need over 900 new health care workers to meet demand from those leaving or retiring from the sector, and for the expansion of services. The demand for registered nurses, kaiāwhina/health care assistants and general practitioners is critical, alongside a wider workforce demand in this sector.
What is the way forward?
Encouraging participation and ensuring completion of health training programmes, including tailored pastoral care/awhi
Encouraging uptake of the wider range of health courses now available will position us to meet demand. More apprenticeship and work-based learning interventions are needed to encourage participation and completion. Programmes such as the Apprenticeship Boost make it easier for employees to earn as they learn and can help increase the diversity of the workforce. Other good practice also includes providing culturally responsive pastoral care, particularly for our second-chance students who have not previously excelled in school, and for those who are seeking a career change.
The role of early career advice cannot be overstated
Adequate and tailored career and pathway planning is needed to ensure our taitamariki are equipped to fulfil their potential. Good practice includes programmes such as Education to Employment (E2E) where local businesses are actively connected to school teaching staff and career advisors, and Te Mahere Whai Mahi, the Māori Employment Action Plan (an all of government approach) which focuses on tailored careers advice for ākonga. An improvement that can be made would be putting in place a mechanism for careers advisors at the secondary school, tertiary and workplace levels to communicate with and support one another.
Preparation is key
Ensuring ākonga are encouraged and supported to pursue a career in health is crucial. Lack of science study past year 9 often acts as a barrier for secondary school ākonga acceptance into a health course. Tailored programmes are needed, particularly ones that meet the needs of our Māori ākonga and whānau interested in a career change. Te Purunga ki Te Raki RSLG encourages coordinated and tailored programmes that meet this need. An example of good practice is the expansion of Pūhoro STEMM Academy into Taitokerau. It is a positive and welcomed initiative from Ngāti Whātua iwi, Ministry of Education, the Tindall Foundation and Foundation North.