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Programme to inspire teenagers into health careers takes top award

A programme that gives secondary-school students hands-on experience of health careers to encourage them into the sector has taken the top prize in the EEO Trust Work & Life Awards 2011 presented on August 25 by Hon Hekia Parata.

Hawke's Bay District Health Board won the Supreme Award for Programme Incubator, which engages teenagers with health workers and the jobs they do in a bid to encourage them into the skill-short sector. Students of Māori and Pacific Island heritage are a particular focus, as the DHB wants to build a health workforce more representative of its community.


The programme uses a lively mix of resources, visiting speakers and field trips. Students take part in activities such as listening to each other's hearts and lungs, taking each other's blood pressure and handling instruments.

Programme Incubator Manager Wynn Schollum says doctors, nurses and other health workers readily volunteer their services. "The collective approach is what makes it magic."

Dr Philippa Reed, EEO Trust Chief Executive and one of five Awards judges, says Programme Incubator is an effective way to inspire today's teenagers to become tomorrow's health professionals. "The DHB is aware the current talent shortage is only going to worsen, and it's taken a proactive, teenage-friendly and long-term stance to moulding our future health workforce."

Hawke's Bay DHB piloted Programme Incubator in 2007 at decile 1A Flaxmere College; 18 schools in the region plus the New Zealand Correspondence School are now involved. A total of 72 students from last year's intake are now pursuing health-related tertiary study. The programme has been extended to five other DHBs, involving 16 other schools.

The EEO Trust Work & Life Awards, now in their 14th year, celebrate organisations that actively invest in their businesses by investing in their workforce. The Awards attracted more than 45 entries, and were celebrated by 400 people tonight at an Auckland War Memorial Museum dinner. Hon. Hekia Parata, Minister for Ethnic Affairs and Minister of Women's Affairs, presented the Awards.

Hawke's Bay DHB took the top award after winning its category, Tomorrow's Workforce, which celebrates innovative responses to future labour-force challenges.

Highly commended in Tomorrow's Workforce was accounting and consulting firm Deloitte, for its effective use of social marketing tools in graduate recruitment.

The Skills Highway Award, supported by the Department of Labour, celebrates workplaces that can demonstrate how helping improve their employees' reading, writing, maths and communication skills has improved business outcomes. The winner was Auckland firm Cardinal Logistics, which backed ambitious expansion plans with an ambitious - and highly successful - investment in staff upskilling. Highly commended was roading and infrastructure company Stevenson Group, which gave its employees tools to lift their communication skills.

The Diversity Award celebrates organisations making the most of their diverse workforces and went to Bupa Care Services for its Personal Best training programme that helps staff see life through residents' and clients' eyes. Highly commended in this category was North Harbour yoghurt manufacturer EasiYo Products, where the diversity of the company's export market is reflected in the diversity of its workforce.

The Work & Life Award celebrates organisations creating environments in which people have flexibility and autonomy to meet their work commitments and their out-of-work responsibilities. The winner is URS New Zealand for an approach that allows staff great independence in managing their workloads. SKYCITY Auckland was highly commended for its Connect service, which helps support the company's large, multicultural and largely young team.

The Walk the Talk Award goes to a leader who exemplifies excellence in managing a diverse workforce. Kevin Hatley of the Learning Support Centre at Wellington's

Newlands College won for an approach that inspires students and parents - and ensures disabled employees' talent is not overlooked.

For more information on the winners and entrants.

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