NGO Social Work Study Awards
The NGO Social Work Study Awards are aimed at building the capability of people working in community-based social services. Up to 85 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.The awards 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.These awards are funded and administered by Family and Community Services (FACS), a service of the Ministry of Social Development.
On this Page:
2014 Application Round
The 2014 application round will open on Monday 5 August 2013. The deadline for applications will be Friday 11 October 2013.
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 course that is recognised by the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB).
Students and their employers are encouraged to attend a pre-application workshop to find out more about these awards before making an application. A schedule of workshops will be posted on this page before the end of May 2013. To apply, students and their employers will need to complete a standard application form, and to provide the required documentation – see Making an Application.
The 2013 application round closed in October 2012. There are no vacancies for additional students to study during 2013.
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 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 (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 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. Students who have a study pathway that includes some study through a diploma programme will need to transition from a diploma to a degree programme in order to graduate with a recognised qualification. 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.
About the Awards
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 help 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. 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.
The Information for Applicants booklet for applicants (below) has been extensively updated and it replaces all previous versions.
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.
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.
All applications will be considered on a national basis on their individual merits. 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 (a minimum of 20 hours per week).
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.
Pre-application Workshops - 2013
In support of the 2014 application round, a series of pre-application workshops/hui will be held in August/September/October 2013. These will explain more fully the information available in the Information for Applicant's Booklet and on this page. They also provide an opportunity to have any related questions answered.
These workshops will be posted on this page by the end of May 2013.
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.
Programme Success Rate
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 remain active within the programme (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.
Making an Application
The 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 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 from the previous version. However, FACS will still accept earlier versions of the application form. If you need a paper copy of the application form please contact us on 0508 346 376.
The deadline for applications for 2014 is Friday 11 October 2013.
Mid-year Employer Review
These reviews are normally emailed to the manager of each student, to be completed and returned to FACS by 30 June each year, for each student. The 2012 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.
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.
Current or Returning NGO Social Work Study Award Holders
All existing NGO Social Work Study Award holders (i.e. those selected between 2005 and 2012) are reminded of the need to provide FACS with a copy of their academic results for the 2012 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 2013. Additionally, returning students are reminded of the need to complete and return their Planned Programme of Study form with their academic results