NGO Social Work Study Award scheme defunded

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The Ministry of Social Development will no longer fund the Social Work Study Awards from 2017. (Current recipients of Study Awards will still be supported.)

The Study Awards have sought to build the capability of people working in community-based social services, by assisting non-government organisation (NGO) employees to undertake part-time study for a degree level qualification in social work.

The Ministry of Social Development has advised:

In line with the Community Investment Strategy, the Ministry is redirecting the funding used to support the awards to programmes and services that more directly support vulnerable people. This means that no new NGO Social Work Study Awards will be offered, and that there will be no intake commencing in the 2017 academic year.

This decision does not affect current recipients of study awards - we will continue to support these social workers for the duration of their award periods and the current award conditions and requirements remain unchanged.

Study awards were jointly awarded to an employee (i.e. the student) and their employer, and had a maximum possible value of $33,244. This could assist the student with course fees and the employer with study-related expenses, including backfilling the employee's position while they are studying or on placement. 

"Since the awards began in 2005, more than 700 people have received assistance. The time students spend in the programme varies depending on where they are in their programme of study when first offered an award. To date 432 students have successfully gained a recognised qualification.

This year a further 72 people have been offered a study award. Here’s a few quick facts about them:

  • 79% are female
  • 50% live in rural or provincial New Zealand
  • 36% attend Te Wānanga o Aotearoa; 31% attend Massey University
  • 40% identify as Māori; 29% identify as European/Pākehā"
Family violence workforce development

Workforce development has been highlighted as a critical issue in family violence. The Fifth Annual Report of the Family Violence Death Review Committee (2016) highlights ways in which policy and the practice of care and protection social workers needs to be strengthened in relation to intimate partner violence and child abuse and neglect. (See Chapter 5.3 "Child protection responses" and Appendix 5 "Child protection issues".) It also highlights workforce development needs in the justice and mental health and addictions sectors.

Two previous reports of the (now disestablished) Taskforce for Action on Violence Within Families have also highlighted the need to address workforce development:

Training and education for the family violence workforce: Developing a national training framework (revised) (Taskforce for Action on Violence Within Families, 2013)

Family violence workforce development (Family Violence Unit, Ministry of Social Development, 2012)

Related information

The Parliamentary Social Services Select Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the operation of the Social Workers Registration Act 2003, including whether registration of social workers should be mandatory.