MidCentral DHB in partnership with Industry Training Organisation, Careerforce, are working together to generate interest in health careers among young people. They have developed a customised Gateway programme for the students to not only gain work experience, but also gain credits towards their NCEA. Gateway programmes provide a structured workplace learning experience for students who want to explore career options while still in school.

Mandy Smith, Associate Director of Allied Health from MidCentral DHB said, “This is important to MidCentral DHB.”  It’s an investment in time and resource for the organisation that they consider to be well worth it.

“Creating the opportunity to be in the workplace and experience the roles is valuable to the student to get a real sense of what a career in health would look like and confirm their career selection. It is also valuable to staff to be able to share their roles and experiences with students who may be potential new members to the profession in the future.”

Safety of the patients and students is paramount. To ensure this, the programme kicked-off with an orientation day on 26 February where hospital staff ran through the policies and procedures. Anna Williams, Careerforce Vocational Pathways Advisor, discussed how the 10-week programme is going to run. Palmerston North Hospital and Careerforce have identified a set of unit standards for the students to complete. They will attend work placement days once a week and they will be mentored and assessed by hospital staff.

“We’d like to set the right expectations amongst everyone involved. We talked about the unit standards and learning outcomes with the students. It is our hope that the students and hospital staff respectively benefit from the programme.”

Students are expected to come away with more than just an idea of the diverse and rewarding careers available across health care. There are valuable networks to be gained and an opportunity to learn from professionals.

The organisers also thought it’s important that students learn about Māori culture and how it is applied in the hospital health setting.

Mandy hopes, “that students gain more understanding of the different roles available in health and how these all link together to assist with their career choice. We also chose a module on Māori cultural safety where they will be provided with specialist teaching on the Treaty of Waitangi, by the hospital’s Māori health team and how this practically applies to the health care setting.”

There is a workforce shortage across the health and wellbeing sectors, and young people have a real opportunity to get into a life-long rewarding career. They can earn and learn, and gain qualifications on-the-job.

Mandy said, “Health careers are rewarding, have multiple specialties that provide professional development and continued growth in learning in a supportive environment”

Careerforce is excited and grateful for this partnership. “We appreciate MidCentral DHB’s commitment to this programme and their efficiency and hard work in making it happen. We think these students, their whānau, and the community will all benefit from this. If we can help young people into careers and stay locally, everyone wins,” said Anna.

Careerforce is the industry training organisation for the health and wellbeing sectors. For more information on Careerforce Gateway programmes, go to



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