Pale Sauni, Pacific Priorities and Cultural Leader at Ako Aotearoa, and Laloifi Ripley, Pacific Lead at Careerforce.


Careerforce | Building organisational support for Pacific learners

22 August 2023 Supporting learners, Learner access and pathways, Pacific learner success

Careerforce, a business division of Te Pūkenga, provides work-based learning for the health & wellbeing sectors. Their Pacific Workforce Development Plan – “Ala Moni: The True Pathway” – has been in place since 2018 and to date has resulted in a 13% increase in programme completions by Pacific learners. The plan sets out guidelines to improve understanding of, engagement with and support for Pacific learners. In 2021 it was refreshed to incorporate the government’s recommendations made in The Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020–2030.

During the launch at their annual conference, staff were taken through the revised plan with a combination of presentation and interactive activities and shown how it related to their different roles and what was expected of them to deliver to it. Laloifi Ripley, Pacific Lead at Careerforce, explains, “Some of the key messages that came out of it, was that we need to ensure that our staff felt confident and comfortable to be able to engage with our Pasifika workplaces, as well as our Pasifika learners, and knew the kind of support they would need when they were working with them.”

It hasn’t just been the client-facing staff that have been making changes. The Ala Moni strategy has been applied across the organisation: “Our product teams are also thinking about what our resources look like for our Pacific people and ensuring that they can see themselves within our learning materials and within our assessments,” says Laloifi.

Ako Aotearoa worked with Careerforce to support the rollout of the refreshed Ala Moni strategy, providing a bespoke series of our Introduction to the Pacific Cultural Centredness Pathway courses attended by all Careerforce staff as part of their professional development in this area. The courses provide an introduction to Pacific cultural values and beliefs which are key to successful engagement with Pacific learners. Alongside these workshops, Careerforce arranged sessions with staff groups and their Pacific Team to allow for feedback and further learning opportunities in culturally safe environments.

“I was a little bit nervous before I went, because I wasn’t sure what to expect,” says Jemma Low, Careerforce Workplace Advisor, “but it was really relaxed and friendly, and there’s no wrong answers! I really enjoyed the support around how to pronounce people’s names properly, because that’s really important, and the encouragement to give it a go and see if you can do something differently that might really help people to engage in their learning and complete their qualification.”

Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020–2030

The Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020–2030 has a vision that diverse Pacific learners and their families feel safe, valued and equipped to achieve their education aspirations.

It identifies five key focus areas for change that are needed to achieve this vision and drive systemic change:

  1. Work reciprocally with diverse Pacific communities to respond to unmet needs, including growing and supporting Pacific bilingual and immersion education pathways.
  2. Confront systemic racism and discrimination in education.
  3. Enable every teacher, leader and educational professional to take coordinated action to become culturally competent with diverse Pacific learners.
  4. Partner with families to design education opportunities together with teachers, leaders and educational professionals so aspirations for learning and employment can be met.
  5. Grow, retain and value highly competent teachers, leaders and educational professionals of diverse Pacific heritages.

You can read more and download the full plan here.

Within tertiary education, this plan is supported by the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) that sets out the expectations and priorities for our sector to support this vision. Objective 2 of the TES outlines the need to achieve barrier-free access to ensure that great education opportunities and outcomes are within the reach of all learners/ākonga.

Related Content

Introduction to the Pacific Cultural Centredness Pathway


Introduction to the Pacific Cultural Centredness Pathway

Gain an understanding of the key values from the seven major Pacific nations in Aotearoa and an appreciation of the unique values that define each one.

fale ps

Pacific learner success

Building educator capability to support Pacific learner success.

Pacific Cultural Centeredness Pathway


Pacific Cultural Centredness Pathway – independent, online learning

Seven interactive modules included in this cultural pathway are based on different Pacific nations: Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu.