Pacific learner success in workplace setting

Pacific learners engaged in workplace training have the best chance of success when they are part of a supportive team learning environment, new research shows.

 

 

A new research report, Pacific Learner Success in Workplace Settings, shows that a little help from their friends, coupled with a supportive employer and a good relationship with their training facilitator, goes a long way to ensuring successful learning outcomes for Pacifica trainees.


Launched at the Pacific Tertiary Education Forum in Auckland at the end of September, the research report focuses on exploring key links, barriers and solutions leading to higher achievement for Pacific learners in the workplace.

 

A consortium of four Industry Training Organisations (ITOs), Careerforce, Skills, ServiceIQ and Competenz designed and implemented various training pilot programmes to see what works best for Pacific learners.

 

“Excitingly, our research has shown that supportive workplace and family environments, good relationships with training facilitators and small learner support groups make a positive difference to the success of Pacific learners,” says Ifi Ripley, Learning Engagement Advisor with Careerforce, the ITO for the health, social services and wellbeing sectors.

 

The research focuses on Pacific learners’ achievement in industry-based training and brings a Pacific learner perspective to importance factors influencing participation, achievement and access to ITO-facilitated qualifications.

 

“The portrait of a typical Pacific household is one where looking after family comes first, before work or education commitments,” Ms Ripley says.

 

“So naturally, Pacific learners need to prioritise learning, work and family and having that family support is also a key factor for success.”

 

New Zealand is home to a growing Pacific population and enhancing educational outcomes for these communities is a priority for the Tertiary Education Commission, the key body that delivers funding to tertiary institutions and industry training organisations.

 

Caroline (Ligi) Harris from ServiceIQ, the ITO for aviation, hospitality, museums, retail, tourism and travel, says “While educational outcomes for Pacific people in New Zealand are improving, a lot more work needs to be done to address persistent disparities between Pacific learners and other New Zealanders.”

 

“Also, Pacific workers are often unaware of the range of workplace-based learning opportunities available to them or lack the confidence to give these qualifications a try,” Ms Harris says.

 

“For example, they might have had a tough time at school which has put them off pursuing higher education, and they may have language barriers due to having English as a second language.”

 

Careerforce Acting CEO Gill Genet agrees that New Zealand is home to a growing Pacific population and enhancing educational outcomes for these communities is a priority for the Tertiary Education Commission, the key body that delivers funding to tertiary institutions and industry training organisations.

 

“While educational outcomes for Pacific people in New Zealand are improving, more work needs to be done to address any disparities between Pacific learners and other New Zealand learners,” Ms Genet says.

 

“According to our research and the TEC statistics, we see that Pacific learners are less likely to complete their qualifications, so, it’s important that ITOs, employers and training facilitators work together to ensure the best possible success rates for our Pacific learners and tailor support mechanisms and training accordingly,” she says.

 

For its part in the research report, Careerforce focused on Peer Mentoring programmes for Pacific learners studying the ITO’s Youth Work Level 3 and 4 qualifications and its Health and Wellbeing Level 2 qualification to understand what challenges these learners faced and what was the best way to support them through their training journey.

 

The industry-based training system which comprises of on-the-job training facilitated by the employer and training facilitator has the workplace as the classroom, which not only recognises and respects the learners’ existing skills and competencies, but helps remove major financial barriers to achieving higher education, as trainees can learn while earning a wage and supporting themselves and their families.

 

The full findings of this research, undertaken by Pacific owned and led consultancy Pacific Perspectives Limited for Ako Aotearoa, the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, was launched at the New Zealand Pacific Tertiary Education Forum in Manukau on Thursday September 29.

 

Click here for more information or to view the full report.