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NGO Social Work Study Awards

In line with the Community Investment Strategy, the Ministry has redirected the funding used to support the NGO Social Work Study Awards to programmes and services that more directly support vulnerable people.

No new NGO Social Work Study Awards are being offered - there will be no further intakes in upcoming academic years.

However, this decision doesn't affect current recipients of study awards, who will continue to be supported until the end of their award period - in some instances this will be through to the end of 2021. The information and resources below are for the existing recipients.

Study expectations

The study awards are intended for full-time employees who are studying part-time.

As a guide, Community Investment 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 tertiary providers this is about 60 credits/units per year - for students attending a wānanga 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, MSD will need additional information.

About the Award Funding

Study awards are jointly awarded to an employee (ie, the student) and their employer and each study award has a maximum possible value of $33,244.

Students 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 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 (including GST). This is able to be used to help with a range of study-related expenses, including backfilling the employee's position while they are studying.

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 second 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 MSD by 30 June each year, for each student. The review form is provided below for your information.

The primary purpose of this review is to help students, managers and MSD 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.

Annual Academic Review Process

All existing NGO Social Work Study Award holders (ie, those selected between 2005 and 2016) are reminded of the need to provide Community Investment with a copy of their academic results at the end of each academic year.

For those wishing to receive further funding these results will be evaluated as detailed in the "Review of Academic Results" process (see documents below), and students will be advised of the outcome of this process by early February of the following year.

Additionally, returning students are reminded of the need to complete and return their Planned Programme of Study form with their academic results.

Changing Employer

Students who have an existing NGO Social Work Study award and who are contemplating changing employers should ring our Freephone No (0508346376) to discuss prior to resigning and signing a new employment agreement. Whilst we will do our best to transfer an existing study award, as a minimum students must be in the paid employment of a qualifying NGO (ie, a charitable community organisation).

If a transfer is contemplated, the new employer needs to apply for the transfer by completing the employer section of the standard application form – please see below.

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 to consult with their preferred education provider and/or the SWRB as to the possible consequences of transferring, and then to discuss their situation with Community Investment prior to initiating any transfer process.

Further information

If you have questions or simply wish to discuss aspects of your study award, please email

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