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Plugged In: Your workplace, your community

Plugged In: Your workplace, your community

What is ‘Plugged In: Your workplace, your community’?

Located in Onewa, north-east of Auckland, CHT Healthcare Trust (CHT) provides residential care for elderly patients and vulnerable older adults at their hospitals, rest homes and dementia care units. The staff are comprised of nurses, physiotherapists, social workers, occupational therapists and other allied health professionals.

The Aged Care industry attracts and employs tens of thousands of people in New Zealand, many of whom have English as their second language. Language barriers coupled with limited English literacy skills made it difficult for staff to complete their workplace training modules and qualifications.

As part of an overall staff learning and development programme we developed the ‘Plugged In: Your Workplace, Your Community’ initiative to improve staff competency and knowledge in the areas of:

  • cultural awareness
  • team work
  • people and conflict management
  • writing and reading skills
  • numeracy skills
  • digital literacy
  • health and Safety awareness

CHT Onewa residents and staff
CHT Onewa residents and staff


What are we trying to achieve?

The aim of this programme is to improve the English literacy skills of our staff to enable them to:

  • achieve a 100% pass rate on all skill assessment modules within our skills enhancement programme
  • improve their communication as well as boosting their confidence and relationships with residents and each other

What have we done?

CHT Onewa engaged a nationwide training and workforce solution organisation to develop and implement a tailored programme for staff, focussing on their individual needs. This involved:

  • staff attending workshops, meetings and practical sessions in their own time
  • senior staff and managers supporting staff to put their new skills into practice

Supporting cultural diversity

Each week our staff have the opportunity to host a range of experiences for residents from their own culture, from providing special delicacies, to performances and teaching about their customs or traditions.

CHT Onewa resident and nurse
CHT Onewa resident and nurse


Did we make a difference?

Within months the results from the 'Plugged In' project showed great improvement in the skill levels of the staff including:

  • 100% completion of the programme and NZQA unit standards
  • literacy and numeracy gains for all participants
  • personal and professional growth for staff members lacking self-confidence
  • significant improvement in information management skills

The senior staff and management have also observed:

  • a greater emphasis on respect, roles, reporting, expressing and dealing with emotions in team and management meetings
  • an appreciation and understanding of the cultural diversity of staff

CHT Onewa numeracy progress report
CHT Onewa numeracy progress report


Where to from here?

  • Other CHT facilities in Auckland and the Bay of Plenty are now considering undertaking the literacy programme for their staff.
  • CHT Onewa staff will now be trained in computer skills in an effort to support their continued professional development.