Supportive Learning Programme Enhances Caregiving Skills Of Those Wishing For A Career In Aged Care
Radius Care Rimu Park and EPEC Career Solutions Ltd Working in Partnership
Graduates of a vocational training programme EPEC Radius Care have discovered that skills they have developed in caring for families / whānau which makes them hugely employable in the aged care sector. Currently a class of 9 students are undertaking training and will graduate at the end of June 2020.
The eight-week vocational programme prepares beneficiaries for a career in aged care, addressing staff requirements in the sector while supporting beneficiaries into permanent employment. EPEC Radius Care is designed and run by EPEC Career Solutions Ltd and Radius Rimu Park in Whangarei and is approved and funded by the Ministry of Social Development for up to 30 students a year.
The collaborative programme is also supported by other aged care facilities throughout Northland which provide work experience and job opportunities. The ethos behind EPEC is “exceptional people providing exceptional care”.
In 2019, 23 people graduated secured permanent employment. Many students found their experiences in caring for family members, often gained whilst on a government benefit, had developed the core skills needed for a care giving role – and that these skills were in demand in the job market.
“We’ve realised that it’s not just job skills that are needed, but also things like computer skills and general wellbeing skills. Critically important is the support to get graduates through the tough first few months in a new career,” said Norman Hamilton, Facility Manager, Radius Rimu Park. “This is a win-win because our industry needs many more workers - and the need will continue to grow over the next decade.”
According to Immigration New Zealand, there are 33,000 caregivers currently employed in aged care in New Zealand. Demand for workers is expected to increase by between 50% and 75% (full time equivalents) by 2026.1
“The approach we take is to make sure graduates have all the skills and support needed to ensure they become resilient and successful in the workforce. The programme has a life changing impact on the graduates. They are thriving thanks to the additional support they are given during their first year on the job,” says Angela Popata, programme coordinator, EPEC Career Solutions Ltd.
The programme starts with two weeks of professional development and healthy living training, followed by one-week intensive clinical training at Radius Rimu Park. There they learn essential skills including the client code of rights, assisting elderly mobilisation, dietary support and hygiene, communications skills, and other aged care policies, procedures and practices. The programme then offers five more weeks splitting time between professional development, computer skills and work experience alongside aged care professionals in different aged care facilities and in different levels of care, for example, dementia care and hospital care.
Following graduation, Angela Popata stays in touch with graduates for a one-year period and, if needed, helps to arrange wrap around support services to ensure that the graduate is supported to stay in paid employment.
The benefit to an employer is that there will be no advertising costs, no training costs and no orientation costs. They are given the opportunity to have students work alongside their staff for several weeks to enable the teams to judge the level of skill, compassion, courage and commitment the students have prior to considering employing them.
1. Grant Thornton aged residential care service review (2010)
Images to accompany release in this dropbox link.
About Radius Care
Radius Care is a specialist health and aged care provider for elderly and disabled New Zealanders established in 2003. A New Zealand owned and operated company, Radius Care operates 22 facilities throughout the country which offer a range of care levels including residential, dementia, respite, hospital, young and physically disabled, and palliative care to more than 1,700 residents. Radius Care employs around 1,500 staff and its health care assistants and nursing staff are highly qualified and committed to providing the very best in nursing care. Radius Care also operates community-focused retirement villages in Timaru and Ohaupo. For more information visit ww.radiuscare.co.nz/