Explore your options

There are many ways to work with your community - in voluntary and cultural organisations, or national and local government, and in many different roles – as a policy advisor, social worker, not-for-profit manager or Māori community kaiawhina.

Study social work and you’ll learn about psychology, mental health and risk assessment. Youth worker training will show you how to make a difference in the lives of young people. Or choose a community development qualification and build your awareness of social and cultural contexts, social justice, class and gender.

If you want to take your career further, our postgraduate qualifications will develop your decision-making skills and confidence working within New Zealand’s cultural contexts.

Whatever path you choose, you’ll be taught by passionate staff with years of experience. Many of them have active roles in community, which means that what you learn in the classroom reflects the real challenges you’ll face in practice.

Programmes and study path

Start with a programme that suits your qualifications and/or experience, then progress to a level that achieves your goals.
New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3)3Full-time for 16 weeks or part-time options availableThis programme prepares you for further study at certificate or diploma level.February or July
Certificate in Community Skills4Full-time for one semester or part-time for up to three yearsCommunity educator, Community worker, Group facilitator, Volunteer, This programme prepares you for further degree level study in youth development, health promotion and social workThis programme is no longer offered
Bachelor of Social Practice7Full-time for four years or part-time options availableSocial worker, Childcare and protection social worker, Social worker in schools, Health/mental health social worker, Community developer, Family/Whanau worker, Social practitionerFebruary or July
Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Practice (Social Practice)8Full-time for six months plus half-time for six months or part-time for one to four yearsCommunity development worker, Counsellor, Not-for-profit practitioner, Social practitioner working for a government agency, Social practitioner working for a non-government agency (NGO)Starts March or July
Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling8Part-time for 18 monthsCounsellor, Relationship counsellor, School counsellor, Counsellor in a community or government organisation, Counsellor in a private practiceJuly 2017
Master of Applied Practice (Social Practice)9Full-time for 18 months or part-time for two to six yearsCommunity development worker, Counsellor, Not-for-profit practitioner, Social practitioner working for a government agency, Social practitioner working for a non-government agency (NGO)Starts March or July

Postgraduate Qualifications in Applied Practice

Our new Applied Practice postgraduate programmes address the changing needs of our workforce and communities. The Master of Applied Practice, the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Practice, and the Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice are applied and flexible qualifications that have been designed for practitioners working in New Zealand’s health and social practice sector. There are specialisations (or prescribed pathways), if that’s what best suits your needs, or you can design a learning pathway customised to achieve your specific goals. Find out more about these exciting new programmes.

Industry connections

We have strong links with the West Auckland community and industry organisations, especially in the not-for-profit sector. We’re members of the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers, the Social Workers Registration Board, and the New Zealand Association of Counsellors.

We also work closely with community organisations around New Zealand and the Pacific. Organisations like te Waipuna Puawai, Safer Homes in New Zealand Everyday, the Problem Gambling Foundation and the New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations have helped us develop our programmes.


During your counselling training you’ll have access to audio-visual systems, dictaphones and statistical software to use for research and during your practicum.

The Waitakere campus library has a large collection of community and social practice resources, and computer labs are available during the day and in the evening.