Health cadets are HB success
From left: Afa Marsh-Fepuleai, Morgan Matahaere, Kylie Ellen

A health cadetship, jointly started by Ministry of Social Development and Te Whatu Ora in Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay, has seen 115 cadets complete the program to date.

Hawke’s Bay’s cadetship team leader Hayley Reid says the cadetship, which started in February 2021, was an eight-week programme with participants signing up to do 30hrs/week on casual agreements.

“(The cadetship) supports MSD clients who are on a Work and Income benefit to find and secure meaningful employment at Te Whatu Ora,” Reid said.

MSD funds cadets’ wages, which are paid at union rates for the training period, and also funds support for the provision of a pastoral care role.

During the eight weeks, all cadets completed the NZ Qualifications Authority (NZQF)-approved Level 2 NZ Certificate in Health and Wellbeing with either Careerforce, Eastern Institute of Technology Te Pukenga, or other education providers.

“Each cadet is buddied up with an experienced Te Whatu Ora staff member and has regular catch ups with a Te Whatu Ora programme support person” Reid said.

“Cadets are encouraged to apply for a permanent role at Te Whatu Ora upon completion of the programme.”

Roles on offer include administration, healthcare assistant, oral health, security, orderlies and many others, and are based at either hospital, corporate or aged residential care settings at Te Whatu Ora in Te Matau a Māui.

“The cadetship is not just helping people secure work, but meaningful and fulfilling work,” Reid said.

“It also provides an avenue for people to build friendships, networks, confidence, and hone their skillsets.” 

She said approximately three cadetships were run per year, with 15 to 25 cadets per round. 

“The eighth round of the health cadetship has just started” Reid said.

“The programme has a 75% success rate, measured by the number of people still employed at Te Whatu Ora within six months of completion.”

Afa Marsh-Fepuleai is one of many young Kiwis who have completed the health cadetship.

Caring for his ill mother was what inspired Marsh-Fepuleai to enroll.

Since completing the cadetship, he has become a Care Associate for the Medical Day Unit at Hawke’s Bay Hospital and plans to further his studies to become a nurse.

“Seeing the impact that we have on the patients is pretty fulfilling,” he said. “When they get to go home, knowing I was able to help and make a difference for the community is a great feeling.”

Kylie Ellen was in search of a career more secure than her previous job as a seasonal worker.

She completed her cadetship placement in a rehabilitation ward, where she cared for patients recovering from procedures such as hip replacements.

She said cadets were well supported throughout the programme. “We each have a buddy, someone who will shadow us as we go from patient to patient,” Ellen said. “The staff took the time to really care about our learning, and our journey.”

Te Whatu Ora Clinical Nurse Educator Anna Walter added the support, combined with the Level 2 qualification, set cadets up to either pursue a Level 3 qualification which offers a bridge into nursing training, or to go straight into permanent roles.

“By empowering and educating our healthcare assistants we not only help them we also support our nurses and help bolster the workforce.”

Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air


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