Incubating tomorrow’s health workforce
An innovative Hawke’s Bay project is spreading around the country, fuelling passion for a health career amongst senior secondary school students. It won the Supreme Award and Tomorrow’s Workforce Award at the EEO Trust Work & Life Awards 2011.
Putting a face to Deloitte
Social networking has proven to be a powerful tool for giving students an experience of Deloitte NZ before they set foot in it. Deloitte was highly commended at the EEO Trust Work & Life Awards 2011.
AUT's Māori postgraduate studentship programme is a grow-your-own solution to the problem of recruiting Māori academic staff. It is one of a number of initiatives addressing the issue of an ageing academic workforce and adding "value to the organisational culture of AUT", says Equity Policy Advisor Kitea Tipuna.
"AUT has the highest proportion of Pasifika students of all the New Zealand universities and is third-equal for Māori students," he says. "However, Māori and Pasifika staff, particularly academics, are under-represented at AUT."
Kitea says the market for Māori and Pasifika staff with doctoral qualifications is extremely competitive. "We need to grow our own talent by investing in our Māori and Pasifika postgraduate student cohorts and offering a suite of initiatives to mentor and support them to become academics at AUT."
The Māori studentship programme, called the Hāpai Programme, offers part-time employment, career pathway support and professional development opportunities to Māori postgraduate students. "The foundations on which it sits are Māori values of integrity, aroha and nurturing," says Kitea.
He explains that Hāpai grew out of a model developed by Maxine Graham as part of her
degree in business studies. He found funding to implement the Hāpai Programme and Maxine became one of the first students to benefit from it. She now co-ordinates the programme.
Maxine explains why the values of care and aroha are integral to Hapai's success. "Postgraduate study is such a lonely journey and you need other people to help you get through it, particularly when you might be the only Māori student in your course of study."
Kitea adds, "We want to grow a seed where postgraduate students feel they can make a valuable contribution in the academic world. We make sure that we absolutely care for our Hāpai teaching assistants and research assistants, so if they get a job at AUT, they have the same philosophy of care for their own students."
The Hāpai Programme started in 2008 with the creation of eight studentships. In 2009, a similar programme was created for Pasifika students. Thirty Māori and Pasifika postgraduate students are participating in the programmes, with another 20 participating in similar AUT programmes modelled on the Hāpai programme.
Each participant has a mentor who helps develop a work portfolio designed to meet the needs of the student and their academic area. Participants are expected to complete a Certificate in Tertiary Teaching paid for by AUT. They are employed part-time by the university and attend workshops on topics such as leadership, time management and networking.
Five Hāpai participants have already progressed onto their doctoral studies, six are employed by AUT and four have been employed by other tertiary providers. Kitea says the completion rate for Hāpai students is extremely high at 88 per cent.
According to Maxine, participating in the programme she helped develop was a privilege. "I have learnt so much and I was really happy when the university offered me a position. This feeling of giving back to my university after it gave me so many opportunities is really important. I want to be able to make AUT the best place to learn."
Another AUT initiative at the other end of the learning spectrum supports first-year students in the Faculty of Health and Environmental Services. Equity Co-ordinator Naumai Smith says that for decades, district health boards and other health providers have told AUT how much they value Māori and Pasifika graduates.
"Research tells us that Māori and Pasifika students respond positively to the influence of Māori and Pasifika role models," she says. "Equity Team members certainly confirm this, saying that for students a trusting relationship is key to their success in education."
The Equity Team has developed a partnership model with student services whereby second and third-year Māori and Pasifika students mentor first-year students and are supported both academically and with pastoral needs being addressed
The original programme, Pasifika Learning Villages, was introduced by a former staff member in 2008 and included four Pasifika students in nursing, physiotherapy, and sport and recreation.
In 2009, a similar programme was developed for Māori students. Currently eight second year Māori students (called tuakana or older siblings) give academic support to up to five first-year Māori students. The number of Pasifika student leaders, as part of the Pasifika Learning Village concept, has been increased to eight. These students are paid for six hours per week to mentor the first year students.
The tuakana find their role rewarding. One wrote, "You're empowered in your own learning. It's nice to be able to give back."
Naumai says relationships are also built with lecturers so they then encourage Māori and Pasifika students who might need support to contact the Equity Team. "An important part of our role is to develop trusting relationships with students."
She says the model is successful with exceptionally high completion rates for Māori and Pasifika students. "We have a workable and productive model to increase success and retention rates of Māori and Pasifika students."