What is CALD Education?

CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) training enhances cultural competency in working with migrants and refugees. Professional relationships with CALD clients who have different concepts of illness or presenting behaviours can be challenging for practitioners. Cultural competency when working with CALD clients is essential for communication and improves the accuracy of clinical diagnoses. It also improves the quality of the client‐provider interaction and relationship.

The acculturation process of each migrant or refugee follows an individual pattern. The following symptoms may develop for a range of reasons such as differences between expectations and experience, discrimination, problems in adapting, post traumatic stress disorder, separation from family members:

These experiences are overlaid on a base of different and individual ethnic, cultural and religious frameworks. CALD training is a practical approach to improving the awareness, knowledge and skills of those working with migrant and refugee clients. The training also focuses on the knowledge and skills required to work effectively with interpreters.

Who is the Programme For?

CALD training is designed to support and improve the practice of a wide range of health professionals including medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and others working with refugees and/or migrants from diverse cultural backgrounds.

In addition, CALD training may be adapted to other professional groups such as social workers, education personnel and those working in the areas of youth development or youth justice.


The CALD programme is NZQA accredited, and is also recognised for CME (Continuing Medical Education) credits as training for medical practitioners.

Origins of this NZ Programme

CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) education was developed in 2007 from a joint national pilot demonstration/evaluation project for health practitioners in training. The project was accepted and funded by the Wings Innovation Fund of Te Pou, and developed by

The 6 training modules were supported by the ‘Cross-Cultural Resource for Health Practitioners Working with CALD Clients’. This publication including CD disc provides extra background information by ethnic group. To be used effectively it should support the experiential CALD training which develops information, attitudes, skills and appropriate behaviours.

In 2008 and 2009 the pilot project was conducted in four centres of refugee and migrant settlement in NZ – Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North and Christchurch, with attendees also from Wellington and Nelson. The 6 modules were completed by 110 registered health practitioners– from the disciplines of medicine, psychology, psychiatry, nursing, social work, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and health education.


Development of ‘EDUCALD’ background resource

EDUCALD is near the point of completion and will soon be available as an E- Resource. It is a joint project between the Ministry of Education and RASNZ, and has been compiled to support the practice of education professionals working with children from culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds and their families. EDUCALD provides valuable information about topics such as family roles and dynamics and attitudes to child rearing and education. The resource contains detailed information about 14 different ethnic groups.

The information presented in EDUCALD is designed to support experienced professionals from the Education sector in providing an informed culturally sensitive service for their clients. The resource will also be of value to professionals working in other related sectors such as health, Child Youth and Family (CYFS), youth justice and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

Development of the CALD programme into unit standards on the NZQA Framework, in collaboration with Careerforce, the Health and Disability ITO (Industry Training Organisation).

RASNZ is currently working with Careerforce to adapt the existing six module training course to NZQA unit standards. This will enable course participants to gain NZQA credits for undergoing the CALD training and to receive diploma level certification on completion of the course.

Careerforce supports education and skill development in NZ’s health and disability sector and has three main roles:

  1. Supporting training: they provide employers with tools and resources to help them train their own staff.
  2. Designing qualifications: these provide learning opportunitesi and career pathways for heatlh and disability workers.
  3. Providing leadership: they identify and implement strategies that help develop the health and disability workforce.

Because Careerforce is Christchurch based, progress with this project has been slowed by the impact of the earthquake. However, when completed, this very strategic partnership will broaden the scope and opportunities for CALD professional development in the health sector.


Overall Goal of the CALD Programme

To assist participants to gain understanding of the challenges CALD clients face, and to develop the skills of participants in cross cultural competency, in order to aid successful interaction with CALD clients

Session 1

Culture and cultural competency


To introduce participants to the concept of culture and different cultural dimensions.
To gain understanding and awareness of how those differences impact on relationships when working with culturally and linguistically diverse clients.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will be expected to be able to:


Session 2

Working with CALD clients


To introduce participants to the challenges culturally and linguistically diverse clients face, and to assist participants in gaining understanding and application of skills to competently interact with CALD clients.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will be expected to:


Session 3

Working with Refugees


To assist participants to gain an understanding of the challenges when working with refugees suffering from mental health and to introduce participants to the trauma refugees are likely to have faced.

Learning outcomes:

Participants will be expected to:


Session 4

Working with Interpreters


To assist participants to gain an understanding of interpreter’s roles, responsibilities and rights; as well as the challenges for each profession when interpreter and practitioner are working with each other.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will be expected to: