Name: Nick Talaepa
Job: WINZ case manager
What does your job entail? Supporting people through situations they may be in. Helping them become independent and live safe/healthy lives.
How long have you been doing it? Four months.
What led you to this job? What attracted you to this line of work? After my degree in criminology and psychology, I was working in security. I was interested in probation, helping ex-prisoners and reduce recidivism. I wanted experience in a government organisation and saw a case manager vacancy. Like probation officers, we deal with individuals at different points in their lives and have a positive role to play, whether it’s helping someone feed their family for the week, or to find work.
What training was involved? Training in client engagement, processing hardships, new business training where we can grant benefits.
What do you love most about your job? Seeing people secure employment. As I become a more competent case manager, I want to be able to say I helped people find work.
And what are the worst bits? It’s been a wake-up call seeing some of the situations people are in. It is honestly the worst part of the job; however, we’re always able to help in some way.
What motivates you in your work? I want to contribute something positive to another person’s life, and exercise values I have been taught by my family.
What are your career goals? Working in MSD policy. I’m still interested in being a probation officer or a police officer. I want to be in a job helping people.
Do you have any key mentors or people who have influenced you? My grandparents and parents are my role models because of the hard work and love they’ve shown me and my siblings to enable us to grow up and chase our dreams. They’ve always pushed us to be better than they were. I especially carry my late grandmother’s memory through everything I do as she played a huge role in who I am today.
Where did you grow up and what was it like? I grew up in South Auckland and went to Mangere College. It was a decile 1 school and every kid there had potential; however, many kids lacked the guidance, resources and role models to chase their goals. I am grateful my family had high expectations of me and taught me the right values to live by.