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Thames Health and Wellbeing Certificate helps students excel in the sector

Thames is set to hold another one-year Health and Wellbeing course in 2023 after a hiatus thanks to Covid earlier this year.

The Certificate in Health and Wellbeing provides students with the foundation knowledge, skills, and practical experiences to work alongside individuals, families and whānau accessing social and community services. Students gain a wide range of transferable skills essential to the role of a support worker.

Many of the students who graduated from the programme in 2021 have obtained employment as support workers in a variety of different support fields. Some of the graduates have gone on to degree level study including the Bachelor of Social Work and Counselling degrees. 

Kimberley Cassar completed the certificate in 2021 and said it was handy having the course in Thames as that was local for her and it meant she didn’t need to travel. 

Kimberley Cassar

Cassar now works at Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki - Te Aroha, a rural Iwi-based, not-for profit, incorporated society providing health and wellness services across the Hauraki rohe. 

“I’m a clinical and non-clinical health coach. I landed the job before I finished the certificate."

She said she enjoyed the course because the teachers were amazing. 

In addition to the core modules, students can choose one of two strands as the focus of their studies. These are mental health and addiction support or social services. Students also undertake a practicum in a setting relevant to the strand they select, to integrate their learning into professional practice.

A key benefit of this programme is the flexibility in how it is delivered. Students study face-to-face with tutors and their peers two days a week, and have three days for independent study or placement. For those already employed in a health care support role, this programme can be undertaken online. 

Students undertake 200 practicum hours in a work setting relevant to their selected strand to apply their knowledge and skills, enhance their learning and develop professional practice. This qualification meets the requirement for the Care and Support Workers Pay Equity Settlement. Completion will allow employees and those seeking to enter the industry to follow a career path with qualification attainment linked to wage increases. 

“I wanted to do something in Mental Health and I’d done all my other certificates overseas, so it was nice to have one that was rooted in Te Ao Māori and based in New Zealand,” Cassar said.

“It was a good observing space for me, I loved observing the teachers and learning from them. It was nice how we learned how to take concise notes. I loved learning the Māori parts of the course, learning about the Treaty of Waitangi was valuable for me because of my current role.

“It’s a great certificate for people who already have a background in this industry, and people who want to further their knowledge and careers,” she said. 

Cassar also runs her own business in Thames doing life coaching for people with eating disorders and drug addiction. She was doing that before the course.

Academic Staff Member for Centre for Education and Foundation Pathways, Bill Shaw, currently teaches on the Certificate in Health and Wellbeing on the Wintec Thames campus.

“I moved on from teaching on the Social Work degree programme at Wintec in 2021 as I wanted to be closer to my home community in the Coromandel and to have more contact with the Social Service Industry in the region. 

“My industry experience includes over 30 years’ experience working in both the social service and mental health sector in a variety of different roles including Registered Psychologist, Counsellor, Registered Social Worker, Manager and Tertiary Social Work Educator,” he said.

Shaw is a previous recipient of the Wintec Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award. In 2015 he was the winner of the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers Quality and Innovation award for demonstrating excellence and innovation in social work education.

Enrolment is now open for the Certificate in Health and Wellbeing. You can learn more about the course here.

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