HRC funds Business School study on COVID

28 Jan, 2021
HRC funds Business School study on COVID

What are the challenges that community support workers experienced during COVID-19 and how have these experiences impact their health and social wellbeing?

This is the question an AUT research team, led by the Business School’s Associate Professor Katherine Ravenswood (pictured left), will explore in new research funded by the Health Research Council (HRC). She is joined by Dr Amber Nicholson (pictured right) and Dr Fiona Hurd (pictured centre), also in the Business School.

Community support workers have experienced negative impacts on their wellbeing during the COVID19 response period due to a lack of understanding of this sector. Issues include a lack of PPE, and wage and sick leave policy that does not apply to this complex sector. Community support workers report they have had to take action themselves to protect their own wellbeing at work. These wellbeing issues are underscored by ongoing systemic gender discrimination and a failure to protect and promote Māori wellbeing in employment. Dr Nicholson (Ngāruahine) leads the stream of the research that investigates the experiences of wellbeing of Māori community support workers.

The project is collaboratively designed by the AUT team and two research partners, the Ē Tu and PSA unions. The needs, experience and knowledge of community support workers are central to the research process and outcomes. The project team will use a participant interview method to interview e support workers throughout the country, including a specific focus on Māori support workers.

The findings will directly inform recommendations that can be implemented to reduce inequity in the wellbeing of Māori community support workers, and community support workers in general, during the COVID19 response and in future disruptive events.

Read more about the research in the NZ Herald

Read about the HRC funding

Read more about Associate Professor Katherine Ravenswood