Top student graduates on the job

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Jackson McGregor had patients to care for on the day of his graduation. So, his tutor arranged a graduation at the rest home where he works and presented him with cup for top student of his year.

WITT tutor Sandra Withers is passionate about her ākonga achieving and being rewarded.  A senior staff academic staff member in the nursing team, she oversees two intakes each year of ākonga who attend a 21-week course to achieve New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing | Health Care Assistant Strand Level 3.

“Within each course students complete assignments, team work presentations and clinical placement hours out in our community rest homes,” she says.

“WITT’s participation within the community is important for our ākonga – they complete 124 hours of practical clinical experience. We use most New Plymouth rest homes for this.”

Sandra visits the rest homes weekly and builds trust and respect with the clinical managers.

Each graduation a student is chosen from the year to receive the Health Care Assistant Student of the Year cup. Jackson was chosen to receive the cup for 2023 at this February’s graduation but could not attend, so Sandra contacted the Village Manager at Molly Ryan rest home where he works and organised a surprise graduation last month.

“Jackson thought I was there for a monthly meeting to advise and thank Molly Ryan staff for the support they give my ākonga during clinical hours and training,” says Sandra.

“When I announced we have a cup for the best ākonga of the year he was shocked when I said it was him for 2023! He was asked to come up and accept his awards. He was embarrassed at first but very proud and thanked everyone for the support he was given during the programme.”

Jackson, 18, gained full time employment at the rest home from his clinical placement.

Village Manager Jennifer Macbeth was also a tutor at WITT teaching the course in Hawera prior to her role at Molly Ryan.

Molly Ryan has employed five ākonga from these placements in fulltime roles over the last three years.

Photo caption:

Tutor Sandra Withers and Jackson McGregor.

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