Home / The Plan / History of the Plan 2015-2020
In late 2013, Health Workforce New Zealand and Careerforce committed to a 20-year vision to build a strengths-based transformational approach to advance the role and contribution of kaiāwhina as valued members within the health and disability system.
A kaiāwhina workforce that adds value to the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders by being competent, adaptable and an integral part of service provision.
This included the provision of learning and development pathways to ensure kaiāwhina have the required skills, knowledge and attributes to respond to current and emerging roles, and to also ensure opportunities are provided in an accessible manner for kaiāwhina to attain this learning.
To achieve this vision, an initial five-year plan was developed following extensive consultation. In 2014 the Health Workforce New Zealand and Careerforce partnership established the Kaiāwhina Workforce Taskforce to provide over-arching governance to the Plan. A Working Group and Programme Team coordinated the progress of the Plan’s actions and report through to the Taskforce.
The Action Plan was approved by the Kaiāwhina Workforce Taskforce in 2015 and implementation commenced in July 2015.
There was a compelling call for action to ensure that New Zealand has a sustainable health and disability workforce for the future given the increasing demand for services as the population grows and ages, and as models of care move closer to home, become more integrated, and new models emerge. A core part of this workforce will be fulfilled by kaiāwhina – the non-regulated care and support workforce in the health and disability sector.
Key Drivers signalled a need for a paradigm shift in how the contribution of the kaiāwhina workforce is organised, supported and valued.
New Zealand health and disability services needed to increase responsiveness to the needs of consumers of services. As front-line workers, kaiāwhina are essential for supporting consumers to meet their wellbeing goals.
There had been significant growth in the employment of an “unregulated workforce”. In tandem with this were reports of “scope creep” with more tasks demanded of them. This is due in part to the increasing demand with an ageing population and shortages in the nursing, medical and allied workforces. A competent and qualified kaiāwhina workforce enables these workforces to operate at the top of their scope.
Acknowledging the vital importance of the kaiāwhina workforce to the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders, Government were looking for the role and contribution of kaiāwhina to be more visible and recognised as part of the collaborative team to improve health outcomes for consumers.
Different parts of the sector had completed planning specifically for their future workforce needs in response to changes in demand and models of care and support. Yet, kaiāwhina had variable experiences of training once recruited. Despite the significance of this workforce no strategy existed to inform its ongoing development. The benefits of a comprehensive and inclusive sector approach to planning for the kaiāwhina workforce were identified.
Training for kaiāwhina was disparate and local and national qualifications confusing, so no clear and coherent career pathways could be described. In 2013, a formal review of qualifications for the health, disability and social service sectors enabled a focused analysis of the career pathways and training being offered to kaiāwhina.
Government was seeking an assurance that strongly positioned the health and disability workforce to respond to new and changing models of service delivery, including integrated care models and readiness to embrace technology, supporting positive consumer outcomes.
Data on this workforce was scarce, in part because no single definition of the unregulated health workforce existed. There was no consistent quantitative data collected and analysed about kaiāwhina, estimated to be more than a third of the total health and disability sector workforce, and no single agency responsible for collecting workforce data.