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Our services identify and support potential leaders in various occupational groups to develop both technical and managerial skills, ensuring succession planning is facilitated. This is important for Northland DHB to attract and retain skills to provide high quality, fit-for purpose care and services to meet both the current and future needs of the community in line with the Government’s expectations.

To attract and grow our workforce to meet service needs, training and development initiatives include the opportunity to participate in management, leadership and clinical programmes nationally and internationally. Staff satisfaction and retention is enhanced as training and development aligns to organizational compliance requirements, service needs and staff’s own professional development. Implementation of e-learning is enabling greater access to learning, communication, knowledge transfer and skill development, ensuring best practice is implemented.


The care capacity demand management programme utilises tested robust processes to assist Northland DHB to determine more accurately the base workforce requirements across services (initially nursing and midwifery) based on predicted and actual demand and comprehensive work analysis.

Another Health Workforce New Zealand initiative is the advanced trainee scheme. The scheme is a scholarship that assists advanced medical trainees to train or study overseas in a shortage specialty area, and guarantees them employment in New Zealand on completion of training (to which they are bonded). Northland DHB is hosting three trainees in psychiatry, orthopaedics and ENT.

Health Workforce New Zealand Non-Regulated Workforce Training Fund

This training fund is designed to build the capability and capacity of Maori working within the health and disability sector that are not part of the regulated workforce. Northland DHB utilises the health networks to source the Maori workforce, both in Maori NGOs and mainstream organisations, to support their tertiary study towards gaining qualifications.

In 2010, all applicants completed their year of study, with some carrying over to 2011. The number of applications received for 2011 study intention increase by 64 percent from the previous year and, thirty-one applications were approved for funding.


Health Workforce New Zealand has been working nationally to achieve a more strategic and integrated approach to career planning. A major focus of this work is the development of and support for regional postgraduate training hubs. Four regional training hubs – Northern, Midland, Central and South Island – have been established.

Regionally, Northland DHB participated in a series of planning meetings around the Northern Regional Training Hub, which resulted in the development of a project plan for a Transitional Years project. The key objective of this project is to produce regionally onsistent standards and education for postgraduate transitional years (PGY1 and PGY2) within the four Northern DHBs. Northland DHB has two representatives on the project team and it is envisaged that other projects, focused on other professional groups (nursing and allied health), will be developed in the future.

The regional training hubs will initially focus on the training needs of postgraduate medical training and will progressively include other workforces. The project plans will build on existing relationships and align with regional health sector planning.


Northland DHB provides retention incentives to support career Pathways for dental therapists and midwives. Northland DHB continues to coordinate and allocate HWNZ funding for postgraduate study for nursing and midwifery and the non-regulated workforce. In addition, Northland DHB pursues Grown our Own staffing initiatives by providing additional Maori Scholarships for staff and a Pihirau Hauora Maori Scholarship for students who whakapapa to Te Tai Tokerua hapu and iwi. There is also a training fund for non-regulated Maori health and disability workforce to build their capability and capacity.

Our relationships with Auckland University, Auckland University of Technology and North Tec (Northland’s polytechnic) continue to provide future opportunities for doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals to join the organisation.

Incubator Programme

The Northland Incubator Programme was launched in June 2009 and is a workforce development initiative for secondary school students to nurture an interest in a vocation in health. Franchised through Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, the programme is a targeted approach to workforce development that encourages students to consider a vocation in health through experience and knowledge by introducing them to people who work in the health sector.

This year the programme continued to introduce health professionals to Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13 students from Whangarei district high schools.

The response from Northland DHB staff has been positive and at the end of this financial year, mentors were acknowledged for their contribution to the programme at the 2011 Matariki Hauora Awards.

Pihirau-Te Tai Tokerau Hauora Maori Scholarship

Northland DHB is committed to ‘growing its own workforce’ capacity and capability to serve the growing needs of the Northland population and operates an internal annual scholarship fund for current Maori employees.

The scholarship fund supports and enables Maori entering the health and disability workforce to successfully complete tertiary studies, through minimizing one of the barriers to successful recruitment – affordability. To date, seventy-eight Maori applicants have been awarded a scholarship.

The relationship with NorthTec in vetting applications has ensured that Maori students studying in health related careers are supported to succeed in their field of study. The main course of study applications has been from students studying in Bachelor of Health Sciences, Bachelor of Nursing and Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.

One of Northland DHB Maori workforce development aims is to lift the Maori workforce numbers to that of the Maori population in Northland being 30%. Currently Maori make up 20 percent of the workforce.

Kia Ora Hauora Careers in Health

This initiative is an innovative Maori workforce development tool to recruit 1,000 new Maori into health study pathways over four years between 2008 and 2012.

Northland DHB interacts both at a local, regional and national level to engage with tertiary institutions, schools and Maori health professionals to gain support for the relevance of the programme and, as at 30 June 2011, there were 2,928 registered students of which 37 percent were located within the northern region.

In April 2011, a three-day science wananga was held at Omaha Marae in Leigh, Warkworth. The wananga was established to expose rangatahi Maori from the region to exciting science projects in an effort to boost their interest in science. The wananga involved students working through three projects on physiology, diabetes, and marine life. Project activities, included blood glucose testing, breath volume testing, snorkeling sessions at the marine reserve, and cockle environment assessments.

The projects were facilitated by University of Otago lecturers and research fellows including two Maori scientists. In total there were forty Year 9 and Year 10 students in attendance. Kaitaia and Bay of Islands College students participated in the wananga.

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