Faculty Focus: Education and Social Work

Do what you love

Pursuing a career they'll love

Students pursue Teaching, Social Work and Sport, Health and Physical Education because they want a career they’ll love – a career where they can make an impact, inspire others and change lives.

It’s an exciting time for education and the social good sectors. While there are well publicised challenges, there are enormous opportunities. University of Auckland staff and students are forging new knowledge, innovation and practices to transform lives.

Our staff are dedicated to providing students with the tools they need to teach in 21st century classrooms; to launch a career in the world of sport or health; to lead social change in their communities; to make a difference.

During their degree, students in Faculty of Education and Social Work programmes benefit from a strong commitment to social justice, superdiversity, te Tiriti o Waitangi and te ao Māori. Right from their first year, they also gain real-life experience through work placements (also known as practicum). This gives them the opportunity to form strong professional relationships and develop their experience in a range of organisations and contexts well before they graduate.

Now’s the time for your students to choose Teaching, Social Work or Sport, Health and Physical Education – now’s the time to do what they love!


Why teaching needs more men

It is well known that Aotearoa New Zealand is in the midst of a teacher crisis. We need more teachers. But now more than ever, we need more men in the profession.

Well-researched benefits result from improved ender balance and diversity in the education and health sectors, including:

  • Optimising human capital, experience and knowledge in the professions
  • Representing the audience and community that these professions serve
  • Role modelling for both boys and girls

The Faculty of Education and Social Work is encouraging more males to consider teaching as a career. At the moment only 15–20% of University undergraduate teaching students are male. At graduate level this increases significantly, when more males tend to choose education career pathways.

Ministry of Education figures show that men constitute:

  • Less than 5% of early childhood teachers
  • 12% of primary school teachers
  • 40% of secondary school teachers

Set this against a population ratio where males exceed females from birth to age 30* and there is still a long way to go before gender balance in the teaching profession reflects the communities of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Many men start careers in other areas and gravitate to teaching because they seek a more meaningful and fulfilling job. Some reflect that having their own children is often the “ah-ha!” moment that leads to their decision to undertake a Bachelor of Education (Teaching).

Career advisers in secondary schools play an important role in encouraging more young men to consider teaching as a first-choice career. They reinforce the value and contribution men can make to their communities and the importance of male role models for both boys and girls.

“Throughout primary school, I never had a male teacher. Having a male teacher in high school for the first time made it easier for me to connect. I decided I would become a primary school teacher so that I could impact the lives of young boys and girls within the community.”
Blake Pattison, student, Bachelor of Education (Teaching)
Primary specialisation, Tai Tokerau Campus Whangārei

Why study Social Work at the University of Auckland?

Students considering social work frequently ask: “What is the University of Auckland’s strength?” and “Where can I find employment as a social worker?”

What is the University of Auckland’s strength?

Our key strength is the breadth of experience and expertise from a variety of disciplines, including psychology, health, sociology and law. This means that students study a wide range of areas in contexts that include mental health and wellbeing, child, youth and family support, te ao Māori, culture and diversity, psychology for human services, law and the state. One key strength lies in our partnerships with the allied health sector and key government and non-government organisations. These provide students with work-based learning opportunities as their knowledge and interests develop.

Where can I find employment as a social worker?

The breadth of study here means that graduates are equipped with the professional tools to become resilient social workers in a variety of careers, ranging from child protection, mental health and addiction, hospital care, disability support services, youth work and supervision.


Tertiary Foundation Certificate Education and Social Work Pathway

If students are unsure about their grades or need to build their confidence to study at University level, then the one-year Tertiary Foundation Certificate (TFC) Education and Social Work Pathway is an excellent option. It provides entry to Faculty of Education and Social Work programmes at the University of Auckland.

The TFC Education and Social Work Pathway prepares students to succeed at University. It includes skill development in writing, research, digital technology and presenting. It also introduces students to the subjects they’ll pursue in their degree, whether it’s Teaching, Education, Social Work or Sport, Health and Physical Education. Students can undertake the TFC Education and Social Work Pathway in Epsom, Tai Tokerau (Whangārei) or South Auckland.


“I have gained a variety of skills that I will be able to use as a social work practitioner. These include cultural awareness, interviewing, self-awareness, rapport building, networking and also an understanding of social and practice theories.”
Rad Fatani, Youth Social Worker