The Counties Manukau District Health Board's Health Science Academies are an outstanding Supreme Winner of this year's ANZ New Zealand & EEO Trust Work & Life Awards. The winning programme has led to many south Auckland secondary school students learning that becoming a fully qualified medical professional can be more than just a dream.
The Work & Life Awards celebrate diversity and innovative responses to tomorrow's employment challenges. The Equal Employment Opportunties Trust says the success of a workplace is not just about offices or building sites - it's also about communities, families and encouraging those who are just beginning their career path to achieve in their chosen work force.
Nurturing a medical workforce.
The CMDHB's academies were kick-started in late 2009 with a philanthropic grant of one million dollars from the Tindall Foundation. The academies aim is to grow Maori and Pacific health professionals in south Auckland via a pipeline approach. This is in response to a looming shortage of medical staff throughout the region, alongside an increasing demand for health services. Tangaroa College and James Cook High School were chosen and the first academies were opened last year. School principals, career advisors, tertiary providers and science teachers worked with the DHB to develop a more science and health specific curriculum for the students selected for the academies.
This model is a first for the country and the enthusiasm from the students and their families has surpassed expectations and led to a higher demand from budding clinicians. Teachers have reported increased student achievement due to the focused environment, additional teaching/tutoring in science subjects and the value of being specially selected to be an academy member. The DHB's ultimate aim is for these students to continue with their studies at a tertiary level and then work in the local health sector. The programme is so popular that lots of students are now asking to be considered for future heath science academies in south Auckland schools.
The judges were impressed with the way the DHB had identified an issue with the workforce and had the foresight to address it over a number of years.
"It is a great example of taking a long term approach to positive change within the organisation."
That's from a judge, Neil Porteous, who is the CEO of Elevator Group which specializes in recruitment for people with disabilities. "The way that the CMDHB has engaged with the community to meet the diversity needs of the workforce is impressive. This was evident during the interview process where we had the opportunity to speak to community leaders from schools, the health sector and most importantly a number of students who are currently participating in the programme."