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Social Work and Community Development

Are you after a career where you can create positive social change? Social work and community development are rewarding career paths where you can be the change in your community by helping empower individuals and groups of people to take control of their lives.

Explore your options

There are many ways to work with your community; in voluntary and cultural organisations, or national and local government, in many different roles. 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. Community development draws on your awareness and knowledge 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 the 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 Health and Wellbeing - Community Facilitation 4 Full-time for one year. Disability support worker, Caregiver, Health and disability advocate, Whānau Worker, Youth worker, Forensic staff, Aged care worker, Navigator February or July
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing - Mental Health and Addiction Support 4 Full-time for one year. Mental Health Support Worker, Peer Support Worker, Addiction Support Worker, Psychiatric Assistant, Drug Treatment Support Worker February or July
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing - Social Services 4 Full-time for one year. Support worker, Caregiver, Health and disability advocate, Rehabilitation support worker, Whānau Worker, Housing Coordinator, Youth worker, Forensic staff, Aged care worker, Navigator February or July
New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) - Social Work 4 Full-time for 16-weeks or part-time options available This programme prepares you for study toward a career in social work and community development February or July
Bachelor of Social Practice 7 Full-time for four years or part-time options available Social worker, Childcare and protection social worker, Social worker in schools, Health/mental health social worker, Community developer, Family/Whanau worker, Social practitioner February or July
Master of Applied Practice (Social Practice) 9 Domestic students: Full-time for 18 months or part-time for two to six years. Not open to international students. Community development worker, Counsellor, Not-for-profit practitioner, Social practitioner working for a government agency, Social practitioner working for a non-government agency (NGO) February or July

Industry connections

We have strong links to 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 Aotearoa and the Pacific. Our programme has been developed with the help of organisations like te Waipuna Puawai, Safer Homes in New Zealand Everyday, the Problem Gambling Foundation, and the New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations.


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