Programme overview

Do you want to work as a community worker, a volunteer for a community group or a youth worker? The Certificate in Community Skills helps you develop the personal, social, academic and practical skills you need to be effective in the community, in paid or voluntary roles.  Throughout the programme you improve your self-awareness and your understanding of community development, cultural awareness, human development and the factors that influence social change.


  • Suitable as a bridging programme into further academic study or professional training, or to increase your social awareness, interpersonal skills and confidence.
  • A supportive adult learning environment where you study alongside mature students of different ages, cultural groups and social backgrounds.
  • Takes into account your life experience.
  • Highly experienced staff with current or recent experience in the subjects they teach. Many of our lecturers have active roles in community and national organisations.

What next?

Once you've completed this programme, you could continue your studies with the Bachelor of Social Practice, National Certificate in Mental Health and Addiction Support or Graduate Diploma in Not-For-Profit Management.

Admission requirements

To be eligible for admission, applicants must meet the general, or the discretionary, or the special admission requirements and they must also meet any programme-specific admission requirements. Applicants must also meet the English language requirements and may be interviewed.

Generic Admission Requirements

General Admission

All applicants must be at least 16 years of age on the date of the programme's commencement for the semester in which they wish to enrol (or provide a completed Early Release Exemption form).

For Level 4 Certificate programmes applicants must have a minimum of 4 years secondary education, and a minimum of 12 NCEA credits at Level 1 in each of at least two subjects, OR a pass in two subjects in New Zealand School Certificate, OR Unitec Certificate in Foundation Studies: Whitinga (Level 2) in a relevant pathway, OR equivalent.

Special Admission

Applicants must have:

  1. Attained the age of 20 years on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the Certificate is to commence; AND
  2. Have provided sufficient evidence of aptitude or appropriate work or other life experience that would indicate a successful outcome in the qualification.

Discretionary Admission

In exceptional cases an applicant who does not meet the general admission requirements and who has not reached the age of 20 on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the Certificate is to commence may apply for discretionary admission.

In assessing whether to grant discretionary admission in exceptional cases, the primary focus will be on the applicant's level of preparedness for study at the required level.

English Language Admission Requirements

General English Language requirements
Applicants must have achieved a minimum standard of English as demonstrated by a minimum of 12 credits at NCEA Level 1 in English.

English language requirements for international students

Applicants must have at least ONE of the following:

  1. Gained NCEA level 3 and met New Zealand university entrance requirements;
  2. Clear evidence that they satisfy one of the following criteria for existing English proficiency:
    1. Previous primary and secondary study in English as evidenced by completion of one of the following at schools using English as the language of instruction:
      • Completion of all primary education and at least three years of secondary education (that is, the equivalent of New Zealand Forms 3 to 7 or years 9 to 13), or
      • Completion of at least five years of secondary education (that is, the equivalent of New Zealand Forms 3 to 7 or years 9 to 13)
    2. Previous tertiary study in English: clear evidence of completion of a tertiary qualification of at least three years’ duration with English as the language of instruction in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States.
    3. Achievement of the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA)
  3. Achieved, within the preceding two years, at least one of the English proficiency outcomes listed below:
    1. NZ Certificate in English Language (NZCEL) (General / Workplace / Academic) (Level 3)
    2. An overall IELTS band score (Academic Format) of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5
    3. An overall TOEFL Paper-based test (pBT) score of 530 (essay 4.5 TWE) OR an overall TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) Score of 46 (writing 20)
    4. First Certificate in English (FCE) with a pass at Grade C OR Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) with a score of 47 or higher under the Cambridge International standard tests of English as a foreign language
    5. Pearson Test of English PToE (Academic) with a score of 42
    6. City & Guilds Internal English for Speakers of Other Languages (IESOL) B2 Communicator with a score of 42

Programme Specific Admission Requirements

To be admitted to this programme, applicants must also meet the requirements set out in this schedule.

Applicants under the age of 20 must attend an interview in which they must:

  1. Provide a personal statement indicating their reasons for applying to the programme; and
  2. Demonstrate sufficient competence and maturity to be part of the programme; and
  3. Supply the names of two independent persons who will provide confidential references.

Courses and timetables

The following courses are valid for 2015. The courses may be offered as part of the programme. Click on the course links below to see the course details and timetables.

CoursesCredits Restrictions
Culture and Community (CSTU4712) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enhance participants’ awareness of the community and of their own culture in relation to the Treaty as well as develop an awareness of key issues that affect people from differing ethnic backgrounds.
Identity and Communication (CSTU4715) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enhance self awareness and promote communication strategies for use in personal, family and professional contexts.
CoursesCredits Restrictions
Introduction to Counselling (CSTU4721) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce students to a general counselling model which will enable them to use a variety of strategies to help clients achieve their goals.
Youth Studies (CSTU4722) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To provide an introduction to the principles of youth development and the role of the youth worker.
Abuse and Trauma Studies (CSTU4724) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop a broad understanding of issues relating to abuse and trauma and to identify methods of conflict resolution in community settings.