NGO Social Work Study Awards
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The NGO Social Work Study Awards are funded and administered by Family and Community Services (FACS), a service of the Ministry of Social Development – the intent of these awards is to help build the capability of people working in community-based social services.
Up to 85 new awards are offered every year to assist employees of non-government organisations (NGOs) to undertake part time study for a degree level qualification in social work. These awards aim to help support employees of NGOs who have previously studied (or who are already studying) and want to complete a social work qualification that meets the educational requirements for social work registration.
The Information for Applicants booklet for applicants (below) has been extensively updated and it replaces all previous versions.
2014 Application Round
The 2014 application round has concluded - the deadine for applications was Friday 11 October 2013. Students and employers will be advised by Friday 6 December 2013 of the outcomes of the selection round for students commencing in 2014.
The 2015 application round will commence on Monday 4 August 2014 and will conclude on Friday 10 October 2014.
Social workers employed by NGOs are able to apply - they must be:
- A paid employee of a community organisation that is an incorporated society, or that has charitable status.
- Enrolled in or intending to enrol in a social work programme that is recognised by the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB).
Pre-application Workshops for 2015
In support of the 2015 application round, a series of pre-application workshops/hui will be held during August, September and October 2014. These will be approximately two hours in duration and will explain more fully how these study awards are structured and will supplement the information available in the “Information for Applicant's Booklet” and elsewhere on this page. They will be interactive workshops and will provide an opportunity to have any related questions answered.
All interested students and employers are invited to attend a workshop near them – it is not necessary to register to attend – all attendees are welcome. If there are a significant number of potential attendees in a location that is a reasonable distance from the closest scheduled workshop please call free phone 0508 346 376 to discuss if an additional workshop can be arranged.
Who Can Apply
The application is a joint process between an NGO employee and their employer. To be eligible:
- NGOs are likely to be community organisations that are incorporated societies, or that otherwise have a recognised charitable status.
- Employees need to be a practising social worker who is a paid employee of an eligible NGO and who is enrolled in, or intending to enrol in, a social work course of study that is recognised by the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB).
- As a part of the application process employees will need to show that they are likely to meet the 'fit and proper person' and the 'good character and reputation' requirements as set out in the Social Workers Registrations Act 2003.
Preference will be given to employees who are employed on a full time basis (i.e. A minimum of 20 hours per week), and who have previously studied or who are currently studying at a tertiary level. Applicants who do not fully meet these criteria are still eligible to apply and will be considered on their merits alongside other applicants.
These awards are not available to support study where the applicant already meets the educational requirements for social worker registration, or is already a fully registered social worker.
Social Work Qualifications
Only those social work qualifications recognised by the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) are able to be supported.
These are largely level 7 (degree) qualifications in social work, but also include some level 8 (post-graduate) social work qualifications. The SWRB website provides a list of recognised qualifications - please refer to this website prior to completing your application to ensure that your intended qualification is recognised by the SWRB.
Please note that level 6 (diploma) social work qualifications are no longer recognised by the SWRB. This means that students who have a study pathway that includes some study through a diploma programme cannot be considered for a study award until they transition from a diploma to a degree programme. Students in this situation are strongly encouraged to consult with their education providers to fully understand how this transition works for them and to identify if there are any potential issues in this process.
If you have any questions about your proposed study pathway you are strongly encouraged to discuss these with your education provider and/or the SWRB. (See also information at the bottom of this webpage).
These study awards are intended for full-time employees who are studying part-time.
As a guide, FACS recommends that students undertake a study load that is loosely based on 50% of the normal full-time study load for their course and their mode of study. For most students who are attending universities or polytechnics this is about 60 credits / units per year – for students attending a Wananga programme this is likely to be about 120 credits / units per year.
Where students are enrolled in a programme of study that is significantly different to this approach, FACS will need additional information to assist in evaluating the application.
About the Award Funding
A study award is jointly awarded to an employee (i.e. the student) and their employer and each study award has a maximum possible value of $33,244.
- Students can receive assistance with their course fees of up to $3,500 per year and up to $10,500 in total over the duration of the award.
- Employers can receive a contribution to help support their student in study of up to $4,600 per year and up to $13,800 over the duration of the award (Inc. GST). This can be used to help with a range of study-related expenses, including backfilling the employee's position while they are studying.
- Employers can also receive a contribution to help with the cost of backfilling their employee while they are on their final three month external placement of up to $8,944.45 (Inc. GST).
Making an Application
Application is a joint process between a NGO employee and their employer.
There is a standard application form to complete and it is recommended that employees and their employers undertake the application process together. Complete and well-presented information is likely to assist in the selection process – please use the check-lists provided to ensure that all the required information is provided. Information booklets and application forms are available from:
- this website as a download
- FACS regional offices
- from individual Schools of Social Work (i.e. Universities, Polytechnics, Wananga, etc)
- through attending one of the pre-application workshops (see above)
- by calling free phone 0508 346 376.
The application form below is slightly modified version of the previous application form - FACS will still accept earlier versions of the application form. You can download and use either version of these application forms - if you need a paper copy of the application form please contact us on 0508 346 376.
The deadline for applications for 2015 is Friday 10 October 2014.
Selection will be based on both the employee and employer sections of the completed standard application form and any supporting documentation provided. Through the selection criteria weighting will be given to:
- organisations with government contracts for services that are delivering early intervention or preventative social work services to vulnerable children and families;
- employees who have previously studied and / or who are currently studying at a tertiary level;
- employees who are employed on a full time basis (i.e. A minimum of 20 hours per week).
All applications will be considered on a national basis on their merits.
Applications will be assessed between October and the end of November 2014, with all applicants advised of their outcomes by 12 December 2014.
It is a requirement of the NGO Social Work Study Awards that all students are capable of becoming registered social workers upon completion of their study, including the requirement that students are likely to meet the "fit & proper" requirements of Social Worker Registration. (Please note that it is not a requirement of these study awards to become a registered social worker).
In addition, it is a requirement that students and / or their employers cannot have any “outstanding issues of concern with MSD”.
Applicants are advised that vetting is undertaken and that any study award offers made are conditional upon the student and the employer passing these vetting requirements.
Successful applicants (employers and employees) will be offered an Agreement to sign - this outlines the expectations and obligations of each party to these study awards. There are three parties to this agreement – the student, their employer, and MSD.
To date, 657 study awards have been made over the seven years these awards have been available. Of these, 631 students commenced study and accessed funding through this award – 309 of these students have now graduated with a recognised qualification in social work. 184 students remained active within the programme during 2013 (i.e. yet to qualify) and 115 have withdrawn before qualifying, most often because the student has moved to “non-qualifying” employment.
This means that, as a minimum, 73% of the students who have so far exited this programme have left with a qualification in social work recognised by the SWRB. Of those students who have exited early, many carry on with, and successfully complete, their study.
By way of comparison, based on reports published by the Ministry of Education, the overall completion rate in New Zealand for level 7 (Bachelor) qualifications for those students studying part-time is 47%.
This data suggests that a student who has the additional support of the NGO Social Work Study Award programme, including the active support of their employer and FACS, is more than 50% more likely to successfully complete a social work qualification at bachelor level (level 7) than for the “average” student studying part time in New Zealand.
This will clearly vary for each student based on their abilities, the programme and the education provider, and a range of other factors.
Final Fieldwork Placement Payment Policy
To meet the requirements of the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) all social work students are expected to complete “no less than 120 days of placement, of which 60 days is to be external to their current organisation”.
Whilst education providers manage this in a variety of different ways, the Final Fieldwork Payment is to intended to support the 60 day external placement process only – this is most often the 2nd of two placements, and so is often referred to as the "Final Placement".
The minimum expectation through making this payment is that the student is paid during their final placement process.
Mid-year Employer Review
A reviews form is e-mailed to the manager of each student, to be completed and returned to FACS by 30 June each year, for each student. The 2013 review form is provided below for your information.
The primary purpose of this review is to help students, managers and FACS to assess study progress and identify potential areas of need and support early in the academic year, so that these can be responded to and resolved in a timely and useful manner. It is suggested that the manager responsible for an NGO student undertakes this review in discussion with the student - in this way any matters that are identified can be responded to immediately.
Current or Returning NGO Social Work Study Award Holders
All existing NGO Social Work Study Award holders (i.e. those selected between 2005 and 2013) are reminded of the need to provide FACS with a copy of their academic results for the 2013 academic year at the end of the 2013 academic year.
For those wishing to receive further funding these results will be evaluated as detailed in the "Review of Academic Results" process (see below), and students will be advised of the outcome of this process by early February 2014.
Additionally, returning students are reminded of the need to complete and return their Planned Programme of Study form with their academic results.
Changing Education Provider or Study Programme
In some instances, for a variety of different reasons, students may want to change from one education provider to another. Before initiating this process students need to be aware that problems have been encountered when students seek to transfer from one education provider to another after their study has commenced. In some instances, when moving to their new education provider the student may lose up to 50% or up to 120 credits of the credits gained at their original education provider.
As a minimum, students need consult with their preferred education provider and/or the SWRB as to the possible consequences of transferring, and then to discuss their situation with FACS prior to initiating any transfer process.