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Graemea & CYF New Zealand

Graeme Axford documents his Employment dispute with Child Youth & Family, (CYF) New Zealand

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Table of Content  Page 9 of 28

Second Meeting in Greymouth

Meeting with Graeme Axford
Monday 11 December 2006, 4:15 - 5:20pm
Greymouth office

Pam Walkinshaw Acting Operations Manager
Graeme Axford
Chris Pickering Professional Services Team Leader

Please note this is the final copy CYF have to which I added notes and they agreed.

The meeting began with a clarification of the purpose of the meeting which was to provide feedback from the most recent interview position that Graeme had attended.

Graeme had also expressed a strong interest to discuss Mainstream options.

The feedback
Graeme said that he agreed with the feedback from both interview schedules and he was surprised that the scoring in the second interview had not been lower given how he felt before he went into the interview and his perception of his performance in the interview. Graeme expressed he was unhappy about the circumstances sounding and leading up to the second interview and he felt this had an impacted as reflected by the low score.

The suggestion was made could Graeme see any common themes in the feedback to both interviews recurring … Graeme replied yes …

During the meeting Graeme reflected back that he could not fault nor criticise the write up's "Graeme made the depiction that commenting on the feedback would be like asking Graeme how to spell. There is an obvious problem with that"

That he had received similar feedback from tutors about the need for more experience to become a generic Social worker as apposed to just specialising in advocacy. Graeme was also told he would need more experience working with children as this was an age group that he seldom dealt with as an advocate.

That his years as an advocate cloud his focus and perception at time and this would require ongoing training careful management monitoring and supervision in a new role. However given the right circumstances this was achievable given Graeme has proven he is teachable and very keen to lean and better himself.

Graeme had applied for six job positions and the feedback from CYF was congruent with some of that feedback too.

Noted for context, four of the positions where with NGO's who did not have the resources of government department not being eligible for mainstream support funding. The other two interviews were with CYF Greymouth total six I may not have been clear on that at the time.

Graeme was told that from his interview the areas of development for him were his analytical skills and investigatory skills. His experience was in the advocacy role and from both role plays he did not demonstrate a child centred focus, i.e. he did not identify the risks for the children. Graeme was also told that Val, an Iwi representative on the Panel had voiced disappointment that Graeme had not been able to evidence his knowledge base and bicultural understanding more, particularly given the Provider he had completed his qualification with.

In the role play Graeme had not probed deeply enough to find the information that he needed to be able to make a decision about whether he would recommend further action.

Graeme described his learning style and thinking processes which was helpful to hear. Graeme said that during his course his tutors put in a strategy to assist him with learning the course material. Originally the tutors had expressed their concern that Graeme would struggle with the course and might not be able to complete it. Graeme said that he took the tutors notes home and he put them into a format that he was able to understand.

He then presented the notes back to the tutor. His tutors would check in with him every week while he completed the level 4 and 5 Certificate in Teaching moving onto the Certificate in social work. Graeme attempted the Diploma in Adult teaching level 6/7 but gave up realising it was not going to happen and completed the Diploma in Social Work instead level 6 or B to which he was better suited.

Graeme described a sequential thought process that assists him to process information. Graeme said that if he was given a task he would research it and then come back with the task detailed to best suit his learning needs.

Concern was expressed that with the work environment at Child, Youth and Family often being hectic and changing, that the environment would not be supportive of Graeme's learning process and there was the potential that he would become overwhelmed.

Graeme advised that he had downloaded 40 editions of a Social Work Now magazine to try and understand the role of a statutory social worker. Chris spoke of his concern if Graeme felt reading the books would teach him the skills.

Neither Chris nor Pam could identify courses that Graeme could attend to bridge the identified skills needed as Graeme had already completed a social work qualification.

It was suggested to Graeme that he might look at the NGO sector first as a first step in his social work career and when he had cemented his learning he might then consider applying to Child, Youth and Family.

Graeme identified that Mainstream does not cover the NGO sector and he reiterated during the meeting that he is determined to work for Child, Youth and Family. He sees it as a challenge and as part of his social work learning. Graeme reiterated that when he started his course his tutors thought he would not make it, and the same now applies to Child, Youth and Family.

EEO Form
Graeme acknowledged the letter he had received from Paula Attrill regarding the EEO form. He said there were still issues with it from his perspective and he would challenge this through Ruth.

Graeme talked about his regular contact with the Ombudsman and said that sometimes the Ombudsman and others would tell him to take a holiday or to pull his head in. This was an example of Graeme's perseverance aligned with amicable relationship building skills. Graeme also identified that he had written letters to the Greymouth paper and on one occasion the Editor had rung him and commented on his different writing styles. This was an example of how the computer programme that Graeme uses can assist his dyslexia issues.

Future Employment Opportunities
Graeme asked about social work options that might be available in Christchurch but he was advised Pam and Chris could not confirm the current vacancies there. Graeme asked whether the two write up's from his schedules at Greymouth would be available to Christchurch. Pam confirmed that she had a file of the email correspondence but on completion of the process she intended to destroy this.

She did not know whether other files would be kept. She also advised that it was unusual for one site to request an interview schedule from another site and that the documentation kept is usually only in relation to the successful applicant and is filed on their personal files. Other information regarding unsuccessful applicants is usually destroyed.

Pam advised that there would be positions advertised in Greymouth office in the new year and we would follow the usual process which would include shortlisting. If Graeme had been recently interviewed twice and had not demonstrated the skill level necessary, it was unlikely he would be shortlisted.

Pam confirmed that she had employed people under Mainstream in the past. These were administrative positions.

She identified that the process usually requires the employer to approach Mainstream; however she was aware that Mainstream also approached Government Agencies because they also needed to promote their clients interests.

Graeme said if he was not yet work ready for the level CYF require of a sectary Social Worker at this time, he saw Mainstream as the opportunity to become work ready. He also said that if after a period of a year it was not working, that after discussion with Christine, the Site Manager, there could be mutual agreement that the Mainstream option would not continue. Graeme still wants to be considered for Mainstream. He said he was honest about himself and would recognise when he was not doing well. He saw Mainstream as an opportunity to develop the skill base he was missing.

Graeme presented as being receptive to hearing feedback. He was very appropriate during the conversation and displayed positive body language; however there is still concern that his determination and drive (style) would get in the way of him working successfully with family and within the Child, Youth and Family environment.

Graeme hoped under mainstreams it might give him a chance to get a foot in the door. That he could supervision access visits as he was aware some children were missing out owing to the unavailability of Social Workers. This could lighten the load for all the office and give him time to train and learn the way CYF do things … Mainstream was again rules out as an option …

There were no written or recorded notes kept during the interview. Graeme will complete a set of bullet notes of issues covered and Chris Pickering and Pam Walkinshaw will do the same.

We will compare notes and get come consensus on the issues discussed, thus Graeme's comments added in red font.

Acting Operations Manager
Upper South

Table of Content  Page 9 of 28


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