T BartletMeet the Chair of the Midland Workforce Strategy Network

The purpose of the Workforce Strategy Network is to provide regional strategic leadership and a mandated voice at a regional level for workforce that has:

  •         A regional focus
  •         A mental health and addiction specialty
  •         Linked to National Workforce Centre's direction
  •         Linked to Health Workforce New Zealand direction

We asked the chair of this group "Turaukawa Bartlett" some questions about his role and commitment to workforce.

Tell us a little about yourself and how did you first get involved with the Midland Workforce Strategy Network?

I am first and foremost a proud father of a child with special abilities – takiwātanga, husband and passionate rangatahi Māori wellbeing advocate. With the support of my wife Aimee, I deliver the MANAvation wellbeing support programme; an early intervention service based in Hauraki kura targeting rangatahi Māori. Further, I also lead Māori Workforce Development for Careerforce – te toi Pūkenga and very passionate about supporting the next generation of future Māori workforce leaders.

I was invited to join the group by Steve Neale, following my recent involvement with Careerforce – te toi Pūkenga

What was your first impression of the regional network?

Definitely a little ‘star struck’; throughout my study and work in the sector, I had only heard of these individuals and couldn’t believe I was sitting at the same table as them. As sector leaders with in some cases, experience spanning longer than my lifetime, it was definitely daunting, however it was clear that they were all committed to supporting greater wellbeing for the Midland region.

What is currently on top for the network?

The current MH&A Inquiry is definitely at the forefront of this group’s focus; ensuring our voice is heard in regards to the undoubted connection between workforce development and the hauora of our people.

In support, the ‘Huanui’ project, led by Steve Neale is a ground breaking initiative that will hopefully provide real opportunities for Māori whaiora and whānau to transition in to the MH&A Workforce; a pathway that looks to validate, acknowledge, enhance and the life-skills of our whaiora-whānau through the Careerforce- te toi Pūkenga Apprenticeship model.

What do you find most challenging about regional issues for the workforce?

Regional specific issues often relate to national workforce and service delivery initiatives; and it is difficult to create change at a local level when these initiatives take a ‘one-shoe fits all’ approach.

This too is often reflected in the need to enhance Māori cultural understanding and competence in the development of national workforce initiatives, and can be difficult ensuring the voice of this region is heard, listened to, and more importantly acted upon.

As chair of this network, what is your expectation from stakeholders?

Quite simply, be honest to themselves and their people. I don’t expect that everyone will always have something substantial to contribute, or even be able to create significant change at every hui. I simply expect that people engage in the hui, feel confident enough to share their whakaaro, and most importantly feel comfortable in being part of something that collectively supports the wellbeing of all our whānau - We are all whānau at the end of the day, so it’s only right that we feel like one.

What would you like to say to the MH&A workforce, whom you represent as a network and chair of Midland Workforce Strategy Network?

There is no doubt that as a workforce, we have a long way to go to support wellbeing for our whaiora and whānau, and more importantly ourselves as kaimahi. However, rest assured that your voice, and the voice of our whaiora and whānau are at the forefront of our whakaaro at all times, and as the chair, I accept that responsibility full heartedly and will ensure that this never changes.

What is your favourite “words of wisdom”?

Don’t be scared to speak up for what you believe in, and the people you represent; you might be the only one who does.