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Good bunch . Iona Enliven Care Home staff (from left) Belinda Smith, Carolyn Mahan, Joanne Wibrow, Steph Leith, Edith Wicks (resident), Susie Sinclair and Samantha Flordeliz are thrilled with the facility's award. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

It was a proud moment for manager Steph Leith when she represented Iona Enliven Care Home at a major awards ceremony recently.

Mrs Leith was at the NZACA/EBOS Healthcare Excellence in Care Awards in Auckland.

Iona won the training and staff development award category through its Connecting Cultures programme, which has been developed and piloted in partnership with Immigration New Zealand at the Oamaru home for the past 18 months.

The focus of the programme was to reduce the number of international staff leaving employment at Iona.

Initial results show the programme has reduced the number of international staff leaving by 75%.

“We must embrace our migrant workforce, and make them feel comfortable, because they are a wonderful part of our team, and they are increasing in number every year,” Mrs Leith said.

“It’s becoming the way where we’re working with lots of people from different countries. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to continue at Iona.”

Mrs Leith said the aim was to create a good environment for staff, residents and volunteers.

“There is a lot of nursing research coming out of Massey University expressing the concern that we have, particularly around our internationally qualified nurses.”

Iona has 100 staff, 80 volunteers and 78 residents who live in the facility.

Staff member Susie Sinclair, who is originally from the UK, believed international staff members were the way of the future for many New Zealand businesses.

“We’re embracing it before the general Oamaru population,” she said.

“I think it’s good we’re leading this, but I think it’s good for Oamaru.”