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New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) - Social Work

Are you interested in preparing for further study in social work? The New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation is your start to an exciting future in a variety of different social work and community development options.

60 (0.5 EFTS)
Start dates
February or July
Full-time for 16-weeks or part-time options available

Programme overview

Please note: While this certificate programme is not equivalent to University Entrance, successful completion will allow you to progress to higher-level programmes.

This programme is ideal if you want to go on to higher-level study in social work and community development. You’ll learn the relevant literacy, numeracy and leadership skills you will need to excel in your dream career.

In this programme, you will also work with fundamental psychological concepts related to working with vulnerable members of society, and best-practice health and wellbeing strategies to ensure a safe working environment.


  • Tailored content for Unitec’s Bachelor of Social Practice; this means the content is highly relevant to the Unitec programme in which you want to enter;
  • In this programme you’ll already be a part of a Social Practice student body – you’ll be learning with other aspiring social workers;
  • A chance to complete a collaborative project in order to develop the skills you'll need for a career in social work;
  • A critical focus on inequality and social justice, and the development of your abilities to work ethically and professionally, supporting the wellbeing of people and communities;
  • A mix of classroom sessions, practical activities, guest speakers, discussions, presentations and online learning;
  • A chance to take engage with Unitec's marae, a great setting to explore mātauranga Māori and the role of culture in communication.

Where to from here?

Upon successful completion of this programme, you can apply for further study in Unitec’s Bachelor of Social Practice, where you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB).

Please note: International students who graduate will NOT be eligible for a post-study work visa upon completion of this programme.

Admission requirements

Academic requirements:

For this programme, you will need the following:

  1. A minimum of 4 years’ secondary education;
  2. Be 16 years old by the time the programme starts;
  3. A minimum total of 40 NCEA credits at level 2 in four subjects, including:
    • A minimum of 12 English credits at level 1 or higher;
    • University Entrance numeracy (or equivalent);
  4. If you haven't met the above NCEA requirements, you'll need one of the following:
    • A relevant qualification at Level 3 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework or equivalent qualifications (e.g. International Baccalaureate or Cambridge);
    • The New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3), or;
    • After you have submitted your application to study at Unitec, you may be asked to attend a skills review session to assess your literacy and numeracy levels. This helps us to enrol you in the best programme and courses for your career pathway. 

English requirements for international students:

If English is not your first language, you will need one of the following:

If you don’t meet the English criteria above, we have a range of English Language programmes available, depending on your current level of ability.

If you don’t meet these requirements, you may still apply under special or discretionary entrance, or try our New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3).​

For more information download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

Courses Credits Aim
Exploring Leadership (BECS4704) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course introduces the concept of leadership through creating an understanding of the place of self- leadership in the leadership of others. Models, theories and concepts are explored and applied through the leadership of an activity within a community context.
Identity and Communication (BPED4001) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course introduces pathway-related concepts and develops pathway-related academic skills in order to prepare students for further academic study in their chosen pathway.
Collaborative Project (BPED4002) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will prepare students for further academic study in their chosen pathway by providing creative project experience in both individual and collaborative contexts.
Courses Credits Aim
Health and Wellbeing 4 (BECS4703) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will introduce the science and principles of wellbeing as examined through the lens of cultural models of health
Psychology 4 (BPED4005) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course introduces students to the dimensions of psychosocial health and wellbeing: mental, emotional, social and spiritual and explores the external and internal factors influencing psychosocial health and wellbeing within the context of Aotearoa New Zealand society.

Moving to Te Pūkenga

Vocational education in Aotearoa (New Zealand) is changing to better meet the needs of learners like you.

As part of this transformational change, in 2023 Unitec will become fully part of Te Pūkenga, a national network delivering skills training in a wide range of locations throughout Aotearoa.

This means that while you are enrolling with Unitec now, from Semester 1, 2023 you will become a Te Pūkenga learner.

Te Pūkenga has the success and wellbeing of learners at its heart, and a review of all programmes is currently underway to help support this, including this programme. The aim is to make qualifications more portable, consistent and closely aligned with the needs of industry, and more in tune with where the world is headed.

The information contained here is correct at the time of publishing, but as the programme review is ongoing, the courses outlined may be liable to change over time.

Rest assured that we will notify you of any material changes to delivery that might impact what you study, where you study or the ways you learn.