New Zealand is fortunate to have such rich cultural diversity and wealth of knowledge within our care and support workforce.
In our new role assessing care and support qualifications for pay equity equivalence, we’ve received an amazing assortment of local and overseas qualifications from care and support workers. 
Care and support workers with overseas qualifications in nursing, midwifery, science and medicine are amongst those applicants hoping their hard-earned qualifications will see them qualify for the new Pay Equity legislation’s wage rates.
 
From Korea to Nepal; Romania to Russia; Prague to the Philippines, the holders of these qualifications also contribute a wide range of international learning, perspective and experience to the care and support workforce and to New Zealand.
 
Imagine the delight to an elderly Russian woman in an aged care facility when she can share a joke in her native language with her support worker. The comfort, familiarity and the ability to relate to those close to you is something that’s difficult to capture, let alone be measured by a formal qualification.
 
We can see that many of those care and support workers holding overseas qualifications have continued their commitment to professional development upon making New Zealand their home, achieving diploma, degree and post-graduate qualifications.
 
It’s a privilege to read through these applications and see the hard work people have put in to developing their skills for the workplace.
 
We also acknowledge the disappointment that many of these care and support workers are experiencing when they learn that their hard-earnt qualifications may not meet the requirements of the specific qualifications set out by the Pay Equity Act, meaning you may not achieve the pay equivalence you hoped for.
 
But don’t let this dull your thirst for knowledge nor your ongoing commitment to workplace training.
 
If you’re confident that you have the competencies, then you should talk to us about the options available to formally recognise those competencies.
 
These options include Recognition of Current Competency (RCC), Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) or by simply completing the necessary assessments.
 
Any of these three options can lead to the award of a New Zealand Health and Wellbeing qualification.
 
This will mean you will actually have our qualification on your record of learning, rather than just being judged as having “equivalency” for pay equity purposes.
 
We commend you on your professional development and assure you as a community, New Zealand appreciates your contribution to caring for and supporting our whānau, our families and our loved ones.
Ray Lind is the chief executive of Careerforce, the Industry Training Organisation for the Health and Wellbeing sectors.
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