Studying full-time is a big commitment, both financially and socially. In addition there is also the underlying fear for many students that they are not capable of succeeding, either because of a lack of practical competence or a lack of confidence in their own ability.

The NZ Certificate in Career and Study Preparation deals effectively with both types of fears. Programme Leader Penny Merton says the Level 4 course is an ideal one for the “academically terrified”.

“While the course is designed primarily to lead into the social work, counselling and teaching degrees at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute, we also have students who are using it as preparation for other disciplines such as psychology and physiotherapy,” Penny says.

The programme consists of three courses, one of which includes a practical component. The first course covers the mechanics of tertiary study, essay writing, referencing, time management, reading smarter, note-taking, critical thinking and proof-reading.

The second course looks at the things that influence our thinking, such as identity, culture, beliefs and communication, and also gives a chance to further practise the skills learnt in the first course.

The third course is designed to give the student an opportunity to explore a people-helping career of their choice (teaching, social work or counselling) through a volunteer service learning experience, and through interacting with professional individuals and academic readings from their chosen area.

“This Certificate programme provides a genuine experience of tertiary study without the financial commitment of a three or four year degree,” says Penny. “We designed it so that our students would complete it not only with the skills they need to succeed at tertiary level, but also knowing more about themselves and their ‘fit’ to a certain career.”

BTI has a reputation for relational teaching not common at larger institutions, and “once we accept you into a programme, we are committed to your success,” Penny says. NZQA has rated Bethlehem Tertiary Institute as a Category One provider of tertiary education (the highest grade possible), so students can be assured they are getting the very best in education that New Zealand has to offer.

The course is full-time (30 hours per week) and online, with an optional two or three day intensive just before the official start date. It is eligible for Student Allowances and Student Loans. The 18 week programme is run every semester, with the next iteration starting on February 11th 2019.

Penny Merton, Programme Leader for the NZ Certificate in Study and Career Preparation programme.

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