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More than 300 people in Whakatāne and across the Bay of Plenty will be supported on their pathway to employment opportunities in the health and medical sector thanks to a $2.9 million boost from the Government’s Te Ara Mahi (TAM) fund for their He Waka Eke Noa – Mahi Ora programme.

The funding will enable Te Puna Ora o Mataatua to establish Toitū Hauora Toitū Rongoā, a new Health and Medical Academy to help pathway adults into health sector jobs. This will provide training and/or job placements for a number of disciplines including healthcare assistants, nursing, nurse practitioners, allied health and clinical specialists, mental health and therapeutic roles as well as homebased support workers.

The Eastern Bay has been particularly hit hard by the economic downturn and we’re committed to making sure New Zealanders, particularly in areas of high unemployment and deprivation are supported during this time into employment and training” Willie Jackson said.

Te Puna Ora o Mataatua CEO Dr Chris Tooley says upskilling the region’s people in healthcare is a great opportunity to have better outcomes for whānau on the giving and receiving end of healthcare. “Having a kaupapa Māori approach that’s woven in with our own Poutokomanawa framework, we will be creating a workforce that is empowered in meeting cultural needs as well as physical, and the higher level of skill in our community which help increase the opportunities for better income for over 500 graduates”.

This was the biggest funding boost for an individual service allocated across the Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Hawkes bay and Tairawhiti – with the next highest being closer to one million. “This is a testament to the need in this area for skilled healthcare workers and also the proven the success of Tū Māia Rangatahi (our youth hub). We will be rolling out the a similar model for our adults” said Dr Tooley. The approach to the academy includes an integrated model of care, wraparound services and support for the students.

The Health sector is one of the largest employment sectors across the Bay of Plenty and with the growing integrated and mobile workforce demands and additional pressures of responding to COVID-19, this Academy will provide a timely platform to respond to these requirements.

Te Puna Ora o Mataatua was also one of a number of providers that received funding from the Government’s He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) fund recently. Their Tū Māia Rangatahi Hub was provided $2.0m to continue supporting 220 rangatahi who are not in education, employment or training into sustainable jobs and learning pathways.

Youth from Tū Māia Rangatahi helped with kai packs as part of their wraparound training that includes community service.

The Rangatahi Hub is a flagship integrated programme that provides a one-stop shop for rangatahi in accessing health, medical, social and employment support in building career pathways into employment.

Willie Jackson was pleased the Prime Minister visited the Hub in September and she “heard first-hand from Rangatahi about their journey into employment the success of programmes like this”.

Collectively over 500 people will be supported in successful employment and skills programmes through these two particular initiatives, and I know they make a big difference in the lives of whānau across the Eastern Bay of Plenty.  

“Today’s funding announcement is a step towards more resilient communities, a sustainable local workforce, and a thriving region.” Willie Jackson said.

The academy will be based in Whakatāne, and a launch is anticipated in November. The first employment boost to the region is the 10 new positions created by the contract which will be announced next week. Skilled professionals who bring a Kaupapa Māori approach are invited to apply to join Te Puna Ora’s growing team. “We will be looking for a range of disciplines, skills and approaches to join our whānau”, said Mere Faulkner-Tihi, the new manager for both the He Poutama Rangatahi and Te Ara Mahi projects.

Interested parties are encouraged to subscribe to the vacancies newsletter and check out current listings at www.tpoom.co.nz/vacancies.

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