Whitireia awarded a contract with the Ministry of Health

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Whitireia Polytechnic has been awarded a contract with the Ministry of Health to provide essential vocational training to people currently working within adult forensic mental health services (FMHS).

Under the contract, Whitireia will offer its one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Specialty Care programme to at least 20 forensic mental health workers from across New Zealand. The students will be registered health professional or counsellors currently working at least 22.5 hours per week in adult FMHS services.

“Forensic practice” refers to supporting and working with patients in the justice system with mental health or addiction issues, including prisoners who have committed serious crimes. The one-year programme deepens the knowledge and competencies of experienced practitioners already working in this specialist and high-need area.

Whitireia and WelTec Chief Executive Chris Gosling said the new contract was an exciting step forward for Whitireia as it was an example of providing essential “on the job” training.

In his reform of the vocational education system, Minister Hipkins envisioned programmes such as these that will make real difference for people working on front-line, providing a vital service. Our programme will upskill these workers and hopefully help with staff retention in a mental health practice area that is demanding and stressful.

Whitireia has offered this programme, or variations of it, for more than 30 years and is recognised as a leader in the field.

The new Ministry of Health contract with fund clinical staff to study two 45 credit courses:

  • HSC8711: Forensic Practice, and
  • HSC8700: Clinical Leadership

Each course is 17 weeks in duration and is a combination of online learning and short tutorial blocks delivered predominantly at the Porirua campus of Whitireia.

Whitireia will work with Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, the national centre of evidence-based workforce development for the mental health, addiction and disability sectors, to ensure course attendees are provided with wrapround support.