UCOL is launching its new Bachelor of Social Services degree to help meet the growing needs of its communities.
The Bachelor of Social Services is set to be offered at UCOL's Manawatū campus from 2020, pending NZQA approval and accreditation.
Feedback from NZQA has been positive, with its panel praising UCOL for stepping into a challenging sector and developing a programme that caters to a community need.
UCOL Social Services Senior Lecturer Kim Fry says the new degree is designed to fill the skill gaps in social support and assistance that organisations and agencies are currently facing throughout UCOL's regions.
"The idea behind the Social Services degree is that it provides skills needed for those who work alongside social workers in a supporting role."
"There is a high demand for social service staff in New Zealand currently, which means employability is also high. A qualification like this sees graduates come out with the ability to work with factors such as mental illness and addiction in the community."
Students will be able to study the programme full-time over three years, or part-time over six years.
In the first year of the degree, students can expect a wide range of study including placement work, policy, and sociology. Students can also choose to in Mental Health, Addiction Practice or Disability Support.
Graduates of the programme could go on to work in a variety of roles including support worker, care worker, and rehabilitation facilitator.
Fry says there has already been plenty of interest from potential students, and industry organisations are positive about the programme.
Subject to NZQA approval and accreditation, the programme is due to start in February 2020. Expressions of interest can be made at UCOL's Bachelor of Social Services web page.