Started in 1989, by two Cook Island women, it now employs 200 staff to deliver 5000 hours of service each week to 550 clients.
Chief Executive Hamish Crooks says the Trust recognised in 2011 that investing in its people’s capabilities would be critical for it to deliver quality services and expand in the future.
For 92 percent of staff English is a second language, which has made it harder to ensure all staff members understand and can communicate the organisation’s vision and values. It has also been a barrier to employees having a consistent understanding of service requirements, and to their developing their careers in the ways they deserve.
In 2012, Pacific Homecare set up a literacy and numeracy programme targeted to the different needs of staff and enlisted The Learning Wave to deliver the courses.
“We normally start our workers out on ‘Pacific Pathways’, which is our level 1 literacy and numeracy course. They then go on to do level 2 and level 3 on the national framework,” says Hamish.
“The overriding goal of the programme is to train and develop staff to be the best they can be and this in turn will improve the quality of service delivered to clients”.
The results have been inspiring. Hamish says Pacific Homecare has moved from a workforce that was less than 10 percent qualified to a workforce that is now 74 percent qualified.
The programme also helped with reaching strategic outcomes – the Trust’s long-term contracts with the Ministry of Health and Counties Manukau District Health Board relied upon staff complying with certain homecare service standards.
Hamish has seen improvements in many areas of the organisation, including improved observation and reporting of clients’ situations, better report writing, more motivation amongst staff who want to continue training and gaining qualifications, and increases in client satisfaction.
“I believe it’s added a lot of value to the great work that was already going on out in our clients’ homes,” says Hamish. Pacific Homecare’s success was recognised with the Skills Highway Award for 2013.
Hamish is particularly proud of the positive effects in staff members’ lives outside work. Investing in this way, he says: “Can empower a worker who then becomes more confident…who can then have an input into their children’s learning lives…and make a difference in their community.”
Looking ahead, Hamish says Pacific Homecare is aiming to maintain a learning culture within the organisation by embedding numeracy and literacy practices within its workplace training. The organisation has appointed a fulltime training coordinator.
“Over time we expect many of our support workers to progress to do their level 4 national certification. Some will also go on to start nursing careers.”