Inspiring our Pacific youth to explore the many opportunities healthcare offers, is something both FOU: The Future is Open to Us, and the Middlemore Foundation are passionate about.
On Friday 30 September 2022, they joined forces at an event held at Middlemore Hospital, to launch the Health Science Scholarships that will help the FOU Health Science Academy (HSA) students to follow their dreams.
Pacific leaders, including David Tua and Te Whatu Ora Chief Executive Margie Apa, as well as sponsors including Sir Stephen Tindell, who was instrumental in establishing the HSA, and former scholarship recipients attended the event.
Margie Apa praised FOU's efforts to grow equitable representation in the healthcare sector and celebrated the valuable work they do in the community.
"I'm proud to support this kaupapa. My career started with a scholarship when studying at University.
"I know how powerful it can be to receive and the impact it will have on these students' lives," says Margie.
Former De La Salle College student, Lorenzo Lafolua, was one of last year's recipients. He is now in his first year studying at Auckland University of Technology to become a paramedic.
"It was a real eye opener joining FOU and getting exposure to different career options," says Lorenzo.
He decided to pursue a career in health after witnessing his grandparents experience many illnesses and wanted to help people like them.
"Helping people in the community one by one altogether contributes back to them. This is what I hope to accomplish when I graduate. It's about serving," says Lorenzo.
FOU Project Manager, Tuliana Guthrie shares the programme's significant growth since its inception in 2010.
"It was small beginnings starting with only a group of 50 students, but today in 2022, we have health academies across 13 schools with 600+ students.”
For Tuliana it is a cause close to her heart as Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau serves a large population, predominantly Maaori and Pacific people.
"We are committed to growing our workforce from our own backyard,” she says.
Pacific make up 6.7% of the healthcare workforce in New Zealand, and FOU is leading the charge to change this statistic. The initiative does vital work to nurture and support Pacific students transitioning into tertiary education and entering healthcare careers.
Last year awarded 20 Academy graduates were awarded Health Science Scholarships to further their studies.
Margi Mellsop, the CEO of the Middlemore Foundation says they aim to double their support this year.
“Knowing there are 600 Pacific students engaged today in Health Science Academies, my vision is that every one of those students who want to continue their Health Science journey have the financial support to do so.
“This can happen with the support of far-sighted donors committing to making sure these talented students can thrive in higher education and become a vital force in reducing health inequity in Aotearoa.”
If you would like to invest in the future of the Pacific Health workforce, please click here.