Earlier Projects

Work Accelerator

The uncertainty and disruption of a post-COVID economy will provide attentional challenges for people seeking employment. For the social sector, this requires us to think differently about the way we deliver skills training and support services.

Our Work Accelerator is trialing a new support model, and will introduce new and improved skills and learning content to ensure people have the best chance of successfully finding employment and/or re-training to new sectors of work.

Target Outcomes

Participants will identify their transferrable skills, build vocabulary and communication skills, health and safety competencies, and basic employment skills for specific work opportunities. Participants will also identify and understand their broader cultural, physical, social, and psychological strengths and needs, along with developing life skills, and establishing the key government agency, business and community relationships needed for immediate work, or immediate entry into intensive vocational training.

Programme Structure

1.   Individualised Planning

  • Identify an individual’s existing skills, preferences and opportunities for re-training / re-deployment (can also include relocation, in conjunction with MSD)

  • Identify the existing training and employment options that match these strengths 

  • Identify the literacy, numeracy and communication skills required for success in these training/employment options 

  • Rapid screening and assessment of an individual’s literacy, numeracy, and communication barriers to participation in their targeted training/employment options 

  • Finalise the accelerator plan with the individual (and their whānau where possible)

2.   Accelerator Training

On completion of planning, participants will immediately commence an accelerator programme (targeted support for approximately 20 – 40 hours of contextualised literacy, numeracy, communication skills and health and safety knowledge to enable rapid commencement of training/employment options). This will include skills development specifically focussed on their next career choice (this could be one-one-one, small group, or enrolment in group-based modules, and could be physically delivered (ideally) or remotely delivered (where needed for reach or scale).

3.   Transition Support

On completion of accelerator training, navigators will provide support across the transition to training/employment until individual is successfully embedded in their new environment. Transition support can be delivered via a combination of face-to-face and remote/online methods as required by each individual. 


The Work Accelerator model will be trialed with a range of partners – including Government agencies, employers, and other employment support providers and community-based organisations.

Research and Experience

Development of the Work Accelerator model is developed based on the following project work:

  • Design and delivery of pre-release support programmes to prison-based learners

  • Design and delivery of the Speech Language and Communications Needs Navigator (SLCN) programme for Corrections’ High Impact Innovation Programme (Bail Support Service) in South Auckland

  • Detailed discussions with those upskilling and supporting Māori and Pasifika, employers from a range of sectors, recruitment and employment agents along with MSD and several ITOs.

  • Recent development work on post-COVID employment support packages to support re-training outcomes for individuals affected by COVID-related job losses.


Speech Language Communication Needs (SLCN)

Our Speech Language Communication Needs (SLCN) Pilot is a twelve month project designed to support the communication needs of clients of the Bail Support Service at the Manukau District Court.

SLCN is delivered in partnership with the High Impact Innovation Programme – an innovative Government agency responsible for reforming parts of the justice sector, and Talking Trouble Aotearoa – specialist communication support providers with considerable expertise in justice and care and protection settings.

The SLCN pilot aims to test an innovative new way of supporting communication needs – by establishing a small group of ‘navigators’ with strong cultural and interpersonal skills and strong connections within the local community, and providing them with specialist communication training and support from subject matter experts – to support the needs of a greater number of people at a sub-clinical level, and provide pragmatic solution-focused support based on the needs of the individuals and their whānau.

What are Speech Language Communication Needs?

Speech language communication needs (SLCN) are anything that significantly affects a person’s ability to understand and use language in their everyday lives.

This might include things like; having trouble listening, understanding what is being said, confusing words, understanding abstract concepts, understanding time, and remembering what has just happened.

SLCN are very common in society – being present in approximately 10% of children starting school and up to 60% of young people in the youth justice system. SLCNs can cause negative social, educational and employment outcomes, and can often present a significant barrier to accessing and benefitting from support services – with SLCN frequently ignored, or written off as bad behaviour, a lack of intelligence, or attention problems.

However, SLCN can be supported – with many individuals benefiting from timely access to skilled practitioners and simple, yet effective communication tools.

Currently – the public funding for SLCN support, and the limited number of specialist SLCN support provider in New Zealand means most children, youth and adults receive no targeted support.

Our SLCN pilot aims to test a possible solution to this problem, and develop an efficient, cost-effective model for supporting SLCN than can be replicated around New Zealand.

The SLCN Pilot

We are currently working with up to 60 individuals in Manukau – supporting their SLCN during their time on bail. The pilot involves testing different approaches to training and supporting both our own navigator workforce, and the Bail Support Service staff in Manukau, and trialing different approaches to supporting individuals with their SLCN. The pilot will conclude in September 2020, and progress with clients to date suggests that a viable SLCN model for large scale support is achievable, and that further work on the SLCN model will continue throughout 2021 and beyond.