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Second chances and new beginnings

Date: 18 Apr 2024

At Bupa our purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives and making a better world. Nothing captures this purpose more than a remarkable woman with a heartfelt story from the Waikato.

Shantel, having recently moved to Hamilton, found herself at a crossroads after dedicating over twenty years to raising eight kids. She had no real work experience to speak of and felt she was unemployable.

However, an unexpected lifeline appeared in the form of a work experience program funded by the Ministry of Social Development and run K’aute Pasifika Trust, aimed at providing opportunities for the local Pasifika community in the Waikato. Recognising the potential for positive change, Bupa eagerly joined in as an employment partner and welcomed Shantel to St Andrew’s Village and Care Home in Hamilton.

Guided by the team at Bupa St Andrew’s, Shantel tentatively entered the workforce. She started her journey in housekeeping and laundry with dreams of becoming a caregiver with no sense of the transformative impact this experience would have on her life.

Fast forward to the end of the 12-week programme and Shantel has emerged as a full-time caregiver at Bupa St Andrew’s.

“This whole experience has changed my life,” says Shantel.

“Before joining the team here at St Andrew’s I didn’t have confidence to take the first step of going to a job interview. Getting a job didn’t feel possible. It didn’t feel real.

“Now, I feel so good, waking up in the morning and having somewhere to be. I look forward to going to work and looking after our residents and knowing that I make their days enjoyable and fulfilling.

“I also love that my kids see me going to work and now we can get them the odd treat, which is something I could never do before,” she says.

Asked about advice for others in similar situations, Shantel encourages them to take the first step, embrace opportunities, seek help and believe in yourself.

"The first step is the hardest, especially when you’re certain you’re going to fail, but you’ve just got to do it. Believe in yourself, so that when you get an opportunity you can make the most of it."

Bupa St Andrew - Shantel

It’s so worth it, being part of a team and being recognised for my work. The respect that you get from others and for yourself is awesome. It has made a huge difference to how I feel about myself,” she says.

General Manager of Bupa St Andrew’s, Heremina Egan, says Shantel has made a positive impact in the Care Home.

“Everyone speaks highly of her.  She cares deeply about our residents and has been nominated by the team for employee of the month. It’s been fantastic to watch her grow in confidence, learn new skills and become an integral part of our team.  

“For Bupa the programme has been great. It has exposed people to the career opportunities in aged care, people who might never have considered it otherwise. Of the three people that undertook the 12 week work experience programme with Bupa, we have offered all three roles with us. That’s three people into employment and being able to provide for their family. It’s been an incredible experience for all of us.”

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