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Two New Degrees Offered at NMIT

News Release

For Immediate Release

November 26, 2010

Two New Degrees Offered at NMIT

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology is pleased to announce a new collaboration which means, for the first time, they can offer degrees in Social Work and Counselling.

The Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling) and Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Social Work) are open for enrolments and will start on the Nelson Campus in 2011. The degree will be taught in association with Wintec in Hamilton. Other providers who are sharing resources for this degree include Western Institute of Technology in New Plymouth, Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua and Tairawhiti Polytechnic in Gisborne.

Head of the School of Health and Social Sciences, John Hitchcock, says the new degrees offer huge benefits to NMIT social students, who previously had to complete their degrees at other institutions.

“It means they can stay locally through their whole degree programme, and for some it’s saving them a whole year of study. It also means they will have the benefit of the most up-to-date knowledge and resources through this collaboration.”

Co-ordinating tutor for Social Work Sarah Fraser believes the new degree programme will create a much richer learning environment because of the larger pool of specialists and resources available through the collaboration.

“We think that’s a real strength, it adds depth and a national perspective to the students’ learning.

Previously, NMIT had an arrangement with Massey University that allowed Diploma in Social Work graduates to enter the third year of the 4-year Massey degree. They needed to study by distance if they wished to remain in Nelson. Now they can learn on campus in Nelson with all the debate, challenge and discussion that is important when you’re learning to work in the area of human services.

In addition, students will continue to have the benefit of extensive fieldwork experience in local social service agencies set up for them as part of their degree programme. They will be able to put their theoretical learning in the classroom into practice in the real world and then come back into the classroom and develop it some more,” says Sarah Fraser.

She says social work is still one of the professions that has a high demand for skilled workers, with many career opportunities in the top-of-the-south, nationally and internationally.

Co-ordinating tutor for Counselling, Mary Smith, says it’s an exciting development for students and teaching staff.

“We’re looking forward to being able to have the stimulation of mixing with students and tutors from the other institutes. It’s going to be easier for us to keep our fingers on the counselling pulse, and will bring us together as a counselling community.

“This new degree will also offer stronger components around working with Mäori and other cultures in a counselling context. The collaboration allows us to draw on national expertise in these areas,” says Mary Smith.

John Hitchcock says before embarking on the new degrees, NMIT consulted extensively with the local counselling and social work community.

“It has revitalised our relationship with that community and we’ve also consulted and kept current students really well informed. Even though we’re just now announcing the degrees, word of mouth has already meant we had over 100 inquiries before we were even fully approved.”

John Hitchcock sees the degrees as necessities for both professions.

“With the new degree, social work graduates will meet the qualification requirements for professional registration. For the counselling students, the degree gives them a head start in their profession as many counsellors don’t have degrees. Sooner or later degrees will become the industry standard, and it’s also giving status and nationally recognised standing to the profession to have practitioners with degrees,” says John Hitchcock.


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