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New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services)

New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services)


Develop the knowledge and skills to support people with mental health and addiction issues with UCOL’s New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services) (Level 4) with strand in Mental Health and Addiction Support.

A photograph of a trainee UCOL nurse attends to a patient
Quick info

Level: 4

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North, UCOL Whanganui, UCOL Wairarapa in Masterton

Duration: 1 year, full-time

21 Feb 2022 - 02 Dec 2022

Domestic Fees: *
Eligible for fees-free until 31 Dec 2022Scholarship info

International Fees:*

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

If you’re working in the industry or are interested in a career supporting the health and wellbeing of people, UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services) (Level 4) with strand in Mental Health and Addiction Support will provide you with an entry level qualification.

You will learn how building respectful relationships with people, family or whānau in a mental health and addiction setting can change lives. You will apply values, knowledge and skills that foster hope and build resilience. 


This programme is eligible for fees-free study under the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund.

You don’t need to apply to access the fund - just enrol in an eligible programme, and the TTAF process will take care of the fees until 31 December 2022.

Please contact the info centre for more details.

COVID-19 Vaccinations:

At present, in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic, it's highly recommended that you are vaccinated against Covid-19 if you want to apply for this programme. All health sector organisations engaging health care workers have obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to take all reasonable steps to eliminate, or otherwise control, the risk of Covid-19 transmission in the workplace. The New Zealand Government has mandated the vaccine for frontline health care workers. Many of the health care providers we work with are requiring their staff, including any students on placement, to be vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination. As more providers follow suit, if you are unvaccinated or if you choose not to disclose whether or not you are vaccinated, or to provide evidence if asked, this will have an impact on healthcare placements that are allocated to you as part of your undergraduate health programme and will have an impact on you being able to successfully complete the programme.

?Career & Study Outcomes

Graduates of the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services) will be able to:

  • Respect people's socio-cultural identity, experiences and self-knowledge
  • Relate the history of Māori as tangata whenua and knowledge of person-whānau interconnectedness to one's own role in a health and wellbeing setting
  • Display self-awareness, reflective practice and personal leadership
  • Actively contribute to a culture of professionalism, safety and quality in the workplace
  • Relate the purpose and impact of own role to the aims of the wider health and wellbeing sector
  • Foster hope, support recovery and build resistance
Career options include:
  • Disability support
  • Diversional therapy
  • Housing and budget support
  • Tamariki ora support
  • Field officer
  • Health and wellbeing coach
  • Community health worker
  • Mental health and addiction support
  • Social justice advocate
  • Refugee support
  • Community development

To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Social Workers.

?Course Information

The programme comprises 120 credits.

Respectful Relationships (30 Credits) (72 work experience hours)
Develop an understanding and acceptance of socio-cultural identity, experiences and self-knowledge, and apply this to build respectful relationships with people, family and/or whanau in a mental health and addiction setting. The course covers:

  • Listening skills
  • Respectful relationships
  • Consent processes, protocols and workplace practice
  • The needs and vulnerability of children
  • Pasifica cultural values
  • Falefono and Whare Tapawha models of health and wellbeing

Bi-Culturalism and Marae Protocols (15 Credits) (36 work experience hours)
Gain an understanding of the history of Māori as Tangata Whenua, and knowledge of person-whanau interconnectedness to enable you to relate this to your own role in a health and wellbeing setting.

Role Clarification (15 Credits) (36 work experience hours)
Gain the knowlege and skills to relate the purpose and impact of your own role as a support worker to the aims of the wider health and wellbeing sector. The course covers:

  • Biological, psychological, sociological, holistic and alternative approaches to mental health and addiction
  • Values, attitudes, skills and core competencies for support work
  • Professional boundaries
  • Human rights
  • Consumer rights and workplace responsibilities
  • Stigma, discrimination and social exclusion

Self Awareness (30 Credits) (72 work experience hours)
Develop self awareness through the application of a reflective practice that enables you to develop effective strategies and apply these to help build the resilience of people, family and/or whanau in a mental health and addiction setting. The course covers:

  • Theory and practice of self awareness
  • Personal risk identification and management
  • Reflective journaling
  • Self-care strategies
  • Theories and practices of resilience building
  • Capabilities of children

Professional Development (30 Credits) (72 work experience hours)
Learn to actively contribute to a culture of professionalism, safety and quality, and promote the autonomy of people, family and/or whanau in a mental health and addiction setting by using tools and strategies that support people's recovery. The course covers:

  • Health and Safety legislation, including workplace reporting
  • Principles and practices of supervision
  • Principles and practices of networking
  • Information, education and advocacy in mental health and addiction support
  • Recovery concepts and practices in mental health and addiction support work, including those related to children
  • Developing a recovery plan

Previous Related Programmes

The New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services) supersedes and takes the best from the following programme of study, which is no longer offered:

  • National Certificate in Mental Health (Mental Health Support Work)

?Industry Connections

UCOL has relationships with a wide range of mental health and addiction service providers in the Whanganui and Manawatu regions.

?Domestic Entry Requirements

Academic Requirements
NCEA level 2 or equivalent.  
Additional Requirements
All applicants are required to:
  • Declare any previous criminal convictions prior to admission being confirmed. Convictions of any offence may not necessarily exclude applicants from enrolment; the decision is at the discretion of the Programme Leader; and
  • Authorise UCOL to obtain a background check from the New Zealand Police Licensing and Vetting Agency
  • Attend an interview with the Programme Lecturer. 


For more information about NCEA Credits see?UCOL's NCEA explained page.

?International Entry Requirements

International students are welcome into the programme but, along with domestic students, will need to meet UCOL’s criteria for entry including a faculty interview. 

English Proficiency Entry Requirements
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS (or equivalent including TOEFL) score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5. UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre. The English Proficiency test is accepted for English language entry into all UCOL programmes.

Under 20 years of age
For international applicants under 20 years of age who do not hold NCEA, International Academic Qualifications Entry Criteria apply.

?Advice & Guidance

This qualification is not associated with professional registration or a clinical scope of practice.

Work experience
There are 288 work experience hours in the programme. It is strongly recommended that all students wanting to do the programme seek advice from the Programme Lecturer.

UCOL is able to organise limited work placements at the beginning of the academic year. Acceptance into these placements is conditional on a student’s completing a Statutory Declaration and the Department of Courts Criminal Record Check to allow the release of any criminal history to UCOL, and on the results being satisfactory. Convictions are not necessarily a barrier to entry, but may affect a student’s ability to complete workplace requirements and therefore gain the qualification.
UCOL will undertake a safety check of all students after enrolment to ensure UCOL meets the legislative requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act, 2014.  If the student has a practicum/placement with services for health or disability where there are clients under 18 years of age, UCOL will do this on behalf of the providers who host UCOL students.  The safety check involves confirming the student’s work history, verifying their suitability to work with children with a trusted referee, and completing New Zealand Police vetting.
All students in placements organised by UCOL are required to follow the mental health service provider’s policies and procedures and UCOL’s student workplace protocols.
Learning resources
Required and recommended reading material will be specified in the course outline provided by the lecturer at the beginning of the semester. Students may use texts and other books, journals, on-line databases, and the Internet to increase their awareness and knowledge of the subject material.

Recognition of prior learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course have already been met. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the UCOL Academic Statute and other relavant policies and procedures.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • A completed Police Declaration Form
  • A completed Health Declaration Form
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email (not via the online application form).


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.