We really appreciate each of you and value all the feedback we’ve received from you this week. Thank you for having the confidence to let us know how you’re feeling. We’ve heard a wide range of views from those who want to come back onsite as soon as possible to others who are grateful they don’t have to.
We seek to weigh up the needs of all the student body: those keen to come back quickly alongside those who are vulnerable.
Your experiences and opinions do help inform our decision-making, and have always done. We are listening to you. You are being heard.
Under Levels 3 and 4, we at BTI, like all of you, operated under crisis mode. BTI had obligations to government and to the various professional agencies and regulatory bodies we work with as well as to the health and safety of all who are in BTI’s community. This vicious Covid-19 disease has laid waste to populations all around the world and none of us want to see that here in New Zealand. Thankfully, this country went hard and went early into lockdown and there are relatively low rates of infection and fatality. But we are not out of the woods yet. Today we moved as a country to Level 2 and yet we need to remain cautious. We know that other countries have loosened their lockdown restrictions and then seen infection rates rise. We hope that doesn’t happen here.
It is our intention, if at all possible, to have onsite teaching in semester 2. If the progress of Covid-19 progresses positively, then that will happen. But if infection rates climb again, then it won’t. For that reason, we will be making a decision on May 26th about what we’ll do. By then, we hope to have a clearer picture and it also coincides with the government’s own reassessment of alert level 2 on May 25th. We will let you know then so you and our educators have enough time to plan in response to whichever decision we make.
The year 2 and 3 primary and ECE intensives in June will be offered online and our educators in those programmes are preparing for that now.
While we hope that intensives for Year 1 primary and ECE, for secondary, and for the School of Social Practice, all scheduled for later in the year, will happen onsite we are very aware that as with our move to teaching onsite for semester 2, this will be entirely contingent on the direction of Covid-19 infections and corresponding government requirements for the tertiary sector. Again, we will make a call on this on May 26th.
BTI has a long and successful history in delivering education online, well ahead of most other tertiary providers. We are confident that the content and the experience of learning online at BTI has been well developed and creates a robust learning experience. We have recently run two online intensives and are quickly learning how to adapt so the experience for you is engaging and interactive, with a variety of teaching methods used. I am deeply impressed with the hard work my colleagues have put into bringing high quality teaching and learning to these online intensives.
Thank you once again for getting in touch with us, for letting us know how you’re feeling, for sharing your views. We will be in touch again on May 26th.
You remain in our prayers and we are grateful for each of you.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that New Zealand will move to Level 2 on Thursday. Here’s what this means for you.
We recognise how much value we put on relationship building. One of the reasons we have onsite teaching and face-to-face intensives is to build relationships with you all, invest in your lives and your personal, professional and spiritual growth. Being gracious, secure and teachable is best expressed, best taught, best learned when we all come together: that’s a foundational premise of BTI from our earliest days.
So we carry a deep disappointment, a real grief, as you do, that we have not been able to do that in this season. We miss seeing your faces in person, hearing your voices in the same room as we are, walking beside you (even literally) on your journeys with us.
We hold this value while also prioritising your health and safety and exercising an abundance of caution at this time of Covid-19. For that reason, today we have decided the following:
Access to BTI
All students are welcome to come back to BTI from Monday 18th if you want to.
We realise there are other issues that may arise depending on how long Level 2 lasts, how New Zealand’s Covid-19 infection rate changes, government advice, and what feedback we get from you. BTI’s leadership team will continue to meet daily and we will seek to respond, as best we can, to these queries as they arise. If you have any questions or concerns, please ask your course coordinator in the first instance.
We also celebrate God’s goodness to us: in in each other, in the mission of this place, and in a firm belief that even at this very difficult time, the goodness of God will shine brightly, sustain us daily, and guide us gently.
A Message from our Dean: Dr Andrew Butcher
Kia ora BTI Whanau,
On Monday, the Prime Minister announced the next step in our battle against Covid-19, confirming we will be moving to Alert Level 3 at midnight on Monday 27 April.
I know that the past month has been very difficult for many of you and that times will continue to be tough for the foreseeable future.
We at BTI will continue to support you in your studies.
I want to publicly acknowledge the great work of the BTI team for their service above and beyond the call of duty in supporting you and each other in these challenging times.
We are glad that we were able to transition relatively seamlessly to online teaching, including holding our first online intensive. While it has taken some getting used to, it has meant we have been able to stay connected with you, and you with us.
If there’s one thing that we’re all learning at this time is how much is changing and unpredictable. We are also very aware of those among us who are at higher risk and vulnerable to infection. Because your health and wellbeing are valued by us and because we want to minimise any further disruption, we will continue to teach all our programmes by distance for the remainder of semester 1. There will be no onsite course delivery.
Please refer to key dates supplied to you by your Heads of School/programme administrators as to how these apply to your programme.
We will be making access to the library available on a strictly limited basis. If you require library material or access to the library please email our librarian David Osman firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange. It will not be possible to just ‘drop in’ to the library.
Note that online teaching only applies to teaching and not to placements. These will happen if placement providers offer them during semester 1 as previously arranged, are consistent with requirements under relevant alert levels, and in line with the agreements for each BTI programme under revised Covid-19 plans.
If you have any queries about these arrangements please contact your school administrator in the first instance.
We continue to uphold all of you in our prayers knowing and believing that our God upholds all of us, that he is our strength, our rock and our fortress, he is our help in times of trouble, and in him we can find peace.
Kia ora whanau,
The wider BTI community of staff and students is around 400 people. We want each of you to know that your health and safety is our priority, that we pray with and for you in these uncertain times, that we believe in the goodness, greatness and sovereignty of God at all times, in all seasons and in all places, and that because we have trust that God is with us through it all [do watch Andrae Crouch and Cece Winans remind us of this wonderful truth], we can have the peace that passes all understanding in a world that is in chaos.
Covid-19 is having a noticeable impact of how we live, work and be together. It’s requiring us to be selfless, to think of others before ourselves, to be responsible for our own actions and interactions, especially around those who are most vulnerable to contracting this virus. Today the government has told New Zealanders not to travel anywhere overseas. If you feel unwell, stay home. If you’ve been travelling overseas recently or near those who have, self-isolate and practice social distancing seriously. Wash hands often. Be kind to one another. The most reliable information about Covid-19 is https://covid19.govt.nz/ - please use that as the authoritative source.
BTI’s executive leadership team is now meeting daily as we seek to lead with God’s strength, wisdom and courage, to problem-solve and to communicate frequently with you. We recognise that this rapidly changing environment is impacting our staff, students, whanau and friends, and our need to respond wisely, pray often, and support each other.
We are actively exploring innovative uses of technology to support our students in practicums, for assessments, and on intensives.
We are in regular contact with relevant government agencies and professional bodies to ensure our students aren’t too disadvantaged.
We are and remain open until we are advised otherwise. If we have to, BTI is ready to operate remotely, deliver all our teaching by distance, and continue to provide the best Christ-centred education that we can. I am very grateful for the innovation, responsiveness and agility demonstrated by the BTI team who are working very hard to ensure the ongoing success and support of our students and functions of our institute.
We recognise this is an anxious time for many. If students want someone to talk with please contact your cohort mentor (in the School of Teacher Education) or student support team (in the School of Social Practice) who will gladly work with you.
Yesterday I wrote that “advice today could be obsolete tomorrow” which has proved to be true. The government’s new advice about mass gatherings and social distancing now means that our May graduation ceremony cannot proceed as planned. We feel sad about that, but want to reassure you that students will be sent their certificates directly and, all other things considered, there will be a graduation ceremony in September where we can celebrate students’ success with friends, whanau and each other. We will be in touch with more details about that closer to the time.
He aha te mea nui o te ao.
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.
As we have shared on Monday, at the moment we proceed under “business as usual” – schools and universities are remaining open, though there are now restrictions on mass gatherings of 500+ people and advice against ‘handshakes, hugs and hongi’. We know that the situation could change rapidly and advice today could be obsolete tomorrow.
We also hope and pray that the very worst of Covid-19 doesn’t come to New Zealand as we commit to God those around the world for whom this is a period of great anxiety and suffering.
But we also want to act wisely, carefully and in the interests of the health and safety of each other, our students and their whanau.
For now, we are planning for graduation on May 2nd to continue. However, we will make a final decision about whether it will go ahead on or about April 9th, by which stage the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 on our way of work, life and being together will be clearer. That also gives us time to notify graduands, families and suppliers. Even if that ceremony weren’t to go ahead, all the academic processes currently underway to approve graduands would continue and they would still be awarded their qualifications and sent their certificates.
And because a graduation ceremony is an important occasion of fun and celebration of the hard work of our students, their whanau, friends and each other, we have set in motion planning to hold a graduation ceremony in September instead, should that be needed. We have already confirmed that Holy Trinity would be available for our use at that time.
We will obviously be in touch with you all and our graduands whichever way this goes. And we know that God is bigger than this, is present with us, guides and leads us, and is our “peace in my troubled sea”.
Bethlehem Tertiary Institute has been providing training and qualifications in a range of caring professions for over 25 years. Andrew Urquhart talks to the CEO and Dean of BTI about the vision behind the organisation as well as some opportunities ahead.
Listen to the interview on the Rhema website.
Congratulations to our most recent BTI graduates who received their awards on Saturday 18th May 2019. We are immensely proud of every single one of you!!
Over recent years Bethlehem Tertiary Institute has been growing a strong and dynamic research culture during which staff have been involved in conducting research in the fields of Teacher Education, Counselling and Social Work. The success of our work in research has been confirmed in the 2018 Quality Evaluation round with the highest quality evaluation outcomes since the PBRF Quality Evaluation programme commenced. This reflects the increased number of ‘research active’ educators at BTI, the quality and rigour of the research being undertaken at our institution and acknowledges our national influence.
Current research being undertaken by staff continues to influence professional fields of practice. Some of the research projects underway include; educating children with disabilities, resilience for adolescents, coping strategies when dealing with conflict, immigrants finding their place in Aotearoa, education for sustainability, service learning and the influence of digital identities on well-being. Some BTI ‘research active’ staff are also providing leadership with emerging Visual Research Methodologies such as Photo Elicitation.
With the impetus of our expanding research base, BTI continues to be effective in its mission to undertake research for influential service.
BTI Staff Research
At BTI, we are passionate about making a positive difference in the world. Our educators, students and graduates live out this commitment in many ways in their individual careers and personal lives - but from time to time, an opportunity comes along for BTI to serve offshore.
In 2012, BTI in partnership with the Australian organisation Effective Aid International (EAI) supported the commencement of a two year programme of preparation for teaching course on the Thai-Burmese border. Initially this programme was located in the Mae La Refugee Camp and then after one year it was re-established in a nearby village called Noh Boh. The student-teachers who have participated in the programme have come from Burma (also known as Myanmar) mainly because of economic hardships and the effects of the ethnic civil war between the Karen people and the Burmese army.
Over the past seven years this teaching programme has been led by Graeme and Kendal Cook (both BTI graduates). Their professional and compassionate commitment to their students has enabled the graduates to develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to effectively teach in a range of primary schools, mainly across the border in Burma. Everyone has had to work through a range of challenges along the way. For example, engaging in cross cultural conversations with both parties having limited understanding of each other’s language, background and expectations.
In the e-book Graeme says, ‘All these challenges aside, if we allowed ourselves the delusion that we were doing any of this under our own strength or direction then the wheels would well and truly fall off in a short space of time. We are continually amazed how God structures and funds his ideas, and how He only funds His ideas! If you have no understanding of God the Father and what Jesus has done for you then life here looks like a fruitless endeavour. Indeed we are often asked by friends when are we coming ‘home’ or when are we going to be finished with those people over there. It is a life that brings joy but not always happiness, but it’s a life of purpose and adventure, ups and downs and we could not imagine doing anything else despite the hardships’ (p. 7).
This E-book not only provides an illustrated overview of the teacher training programme but also provides an authentic insight into some of the student-teachers’ lives who have graduated from the two-year course. It is hoped their experiences will encourage others who are facing similar challenges in their lives.
To view all BTI publications visit: https://www.bti.ac.nz/bti-publications.html
A message for our students.
We are all shocked and saddened by the terrorist attacks that took place in Christchurch on Friday 15 March. We feel the weight of the pain of all those involved, especially those in the Muslim communities.
We also feel the burden of care by professionals involved in the recovery. We know that one of our own graduates was one of the first on the scene of these horrific attacks. His courage and compassion is an example to us all and we stand with him going to the aid of those in distress.
It is hard, even impossible, to make sense of these events. How might we frame our response? The
question in the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37 provides a helpful framework: “who is my neighbour?” Our response, surely, is that all those impacted by these events, those of all faiths and of none, are our neighbours.
We might also find our own faith challenged by these evil events. Lament is, helpfully, part of our Scripture; it is part of the faith story of all the saints, across time and across the world. The plaintive cry “O Lord, O Lord, why have you forsaken me?” which we find in the Psalms (Psalm 22:1) and in the words of Christ himself (Matthew 27:46), echoes across the experiences of all those who have wondered where God is in the face of unbelievable suffering. And in our despair there is also a claim, a confession: “but this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
It is my prayer that you might know this truth to be yours too. I pray that even, and perhaps especially, when we cannot feel the presence of God, or we wonder why he allows such suffering, we can hold onto His faithfulness. We can know, as his disciples found out, that He is in our boats in the storm (Mark 4:35-41). In that we find peace and hope, which sits at heart of the Christian message. We read in Revelation 21:3-4:
As a BTI community we want to support each of you in response to this tragedy. I will be visiting
Christchurch to visit our staff and students there and I will be in touch separately with those students about that. On our team here we have specialists who can help you, or recommend those who can. Please reach out to us if you want someone to talk to, pray with, and ask questions of. We will also continue to communicate with you about ways we want to further support you at this time.
Please know that as a BTI team we pray for each of you and are journeying with you.
Dr Andrew Butcher
CEO and Dean
In our team it’s all about ‘waking up’: waking up to who we are and our place in the world, waking up to what could be - we’re excited about new possibilities!
We coach learners who want to be social workers and counsellors, to wake up to who they are and explore ways they can make a difference. It’s about transformation.
Transformation starts with identifying personal beliefs and values and holding these with integrity. Being able to work out of who we are, allows us to move purposefully in some of the hard places in society. We seek to bring change.
Bringing change is about restoration of people and connections – connections in families, whānau, communities and systems. Sometimes systems that were designed to help, actually hinder and it’s hard to hold hope.
We explore ways to hold hope, speak truth to those in power and stand in the gap. We explore what we can do to make a difference, how we can become good helpers, and what might be holding us back. Learners grow and stretch, learn to recognise their motivation, they reach forward with purpose.
When I see learners ‘wake up’, I see their confidence, walking tall as their confidence grows through the connections they make with their own meaning. It’s dynamic. Not only do they wake up but they help those around them wake up too.
Our team invites learners into a space that is about development, challenge and change. It is relational and transparent, supported and guided. It is hard work and requires courage. Learners raise their personal benchmark, and become close with their fellow learners as they journey toward transformation. We can often be seen celebrating the joy that comes from choosing to ‘wake up’!
~ Helen Troughton
Helen Troughton is an Educator within the School of Social Practice. She is passionate about helping people explore their beliefs and direct these to action.
Relationships are at the heart of learning and teaching. In fact, relationships are one of the four key principles in the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 2017). Early Childhood Education is not just about knowing what to teach and how to teach it. Young children deserve to have educators who know who they are, how this impacts their teaching and the relationships they develop, and are committed to getting to know each child and their whanau at a deep level.
At Bethlehem Tertiary Institute (BTI), strong reciprocal relationships enable educators to develop a greater awareness of who their students are and how they can best work with them. Teacher educators model this as they teach and walk alongside student teachers throughout their studies. Hannah Jones, a graduating teacher of the Bachelor of Education (Teaching) ECE degree says “I feel as though I have received much more than a teaching degree at BTI. I have been supported and mentored through a journey of personal growth. BTI has helped me to develop confidence in who I am as a teacher and person. I now have a clear vision of the passion that drives my desire to teach and will carry this with me throughout my teaching journey.”
Karyn Robertson (Programme Leader, Bachelor of Education (Teaching) ECE) is passionate about building relationships and equipping students for a career in the early childhood sector. Her passion enables her to develop well prepared educators who are not only highly skilled and passionate about education but also have the ability to care for and nurture the children they will eventually be responsible for. She constantly challenges her students to not only grow as teachers but also as individuals. "Each student comes with unique God-given gifts and talents. Through support and mentoring they are encouraged to engage with head, heart and hands as they seek to fulfill their calling and use their strengths and passion to be change agents in our nation and beyond”.
With New Zealand currently experiencing a shortage of qualified early childhood educators, now is the perfect time to consider stepping up into a career that will make a difference that lasts a lifetime.
The Bachelor of Education (Teaching) ECE prepares graduates to teach in a range of early childhood services in New Zealand and beyond.
Our Kahui Ako will focus on boys writing at years 7-9, Te Reo Maori development, oral language development at pre-school and Year 1 of school, and resilience, particularly at the senior end of school. This will be done within a framework of developing service-learning and culturally responsive pedagogies. For more info visit https://www.facebook.com/Ng%C4%81-Wh%C4%81nau-O-Karaiti-K%C4%81hui-Ako-1975472792473785/
“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 practice 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.
For more information visit www.bti.ac.nz/nz-certificate-in-study-and-career-preparation
Congratulations to Soteria Mulipola - Samu who was awarded a KUPE Scholarship (for Māori and Pasifika High Achievers) at a ceremony held in Wellington last week. 30 recipients have been selected to receive this prestigious scholarship which recognises applicants for their accomplishments and for their desire and ability to become outstanding role models in early childhood, primary or secondary education.
Soteria Mulipola- Samu is currently studying at BTI towards a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary).
Yesterday, BTI officially launched the new School of Social Practice. Programmes within this school are professionally recognised and NZQA accredited. Dr. James Arkwright and Dr. Dominic Chilvers have both taken up new roles within the School, Dr James Arkwright as role as Head of School and Dr Dominic Chilvers as Social Work Professional Leader. They are supported by a professional team of knowledgeable, skilled and relational educators, whose teaching practice is informed by their previous experience in the field as counsellors or social workers.
There was a good mix of staff, students, alumni and special guests present at the launch and the feedback has been very positive. Thank you to all that attended and to those who worked behind the scenes to ensure the event was a success.
Bethlehem Tertiary Institute (BTI) is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Andrew Butcher to the role of CEO and Dean with effect from 4th December 2017.
Currently leading the research and evaluation team at the Ministry of Justice and Chairman of International Students of New Zealand, a charity, Dr Butcher was previously Director, Research and Policy at the Asia New Zealand Foundation and President of the Population Association of New Zealand, Dr Butcher has experience of leading organisations through significant periods of growth. He brings to BTI a prolific research publication record of over 80 articles and book chapters, success in fundraising, cross-cultural experience and has extensive networks in the education sector and Christian ministries. He has held visiting fellowships at Otago, Victoria University of Wellington, Massey and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, and was invited onto the International Visitor Leadership Program at the US State Department and the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering in Malaysia. Dr Butcher has tertiary teaching experience and a clear understanding of drivers in the tertiary education sector. His research focuses on the church in New Zealand, foreign policy, pastoral care of international students, and migration.
Dr Butcher holds PhD in Sociology, degrees in Criminology and History, and he has almost completed a Bachelor of Theology. He has served as a member of several research advisory boards, conference organising committees and the departmental review panel for Otago University’s Department of Theology and Religion. Dr Butcher is on the preaching team at The Anchor Church in Whitby, Wellington and says “I am committed to faith seeking understanding through prayer, Scripture, scholarship, teaching and leadership. I am excited by this opportunity and look forward to leading a committed team at BTI.“
Based in Tauranga, BTI delivers a range of NZQA accredited faith-informed certificates, diplomas and degree programmes in Career Preparation, Professional Practice, Teaching (Primary and Early Childhood), Counselling, Family Support and Social Work, and is the only non-university to offer a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary).
NZQA recognises BTI as a category one provider (highly confident in educational performance and highly confident in self-assessment), the highest accolade bestowed upon tertiary providers by NZQA as a measure of quality education.
Dr David Tweed, Chair of BTI’s Board of Directors says of the appointment, ‘Dr Butcher is joining an exceptionally motivated, passionate team led by the current Dean Dr Andrew Smith and, as Directors, we firmly believe that BTI will continue to ‘punch above its weight’ with this next chapter of leadership.”
For those of you who have been following progress, here's the latest newletter from Noh Boh village in Thailand...
Saturday 13th May 2017 is a milestone graduation event for BTI. Three disciplined students who, whilst working in their chosen fields of practice, are the first cohort to graduate with BTI's Master of Professional Practice degree. "They should be very proud indeed", says BTI's Dean, Dr Andrew Smith.
One of the graduating Master's students is Sue Baker. Commencing her life-long learning journey with Bethlehem Tertiary Institute (BTI) almost two decades ago, Sue's passion was, and has remained, transforming and enriching the lives of the children in her care.
After finishing her Diploma of Teaching (Primary) with BTI in the late 1990's, Sue's love of teaching found her upskilling and graduating with the Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree in 2012. "I've been teaching in the classroom for sixteen years. Right from the start, I knew that I had found my place and then sixteen years on I started to ask myself again, "Why am I here?" BTI's Master of Professional Practice couldn't have been a better fit. As a Christian professional, I just knew from my previous study experience that, not only was this qualification right for me, it was also the right place to study!"
The Master of Professional Practice degree is accredited by NZQA and their approval to teach this qualification has been given to just five tertiary providers nationally. As one of those five accredited providers, BTI offers the only faith-informed option for Christian professionals who include teachers, social workers, counsellors, principals, managers, leaders and lawyers as well as other professionals in people-helping roles. Christian professionals, who wish to focus on human flourishing and both strategically and intentionally align their current practice with the biblical narrative, should contact BTI about the Master of Professional Practice degree.
Dr Bev Norsworthy, the Postgraduate Programme Coordinator and BTI's Head of Teaching & Learning explains, "So many Christians find themselves living a life where their Christian lives are vibrant but where their professional practice is 'added on' or 'on the side'. One of the most important things that happens for students in BTI's Master of Professional Practice programme is that they get a much deeper understanding of who they are, how God has made them and how He has equipped them with the passion, skills and personality that are perfect for His work here on earth".
Study is by distance and available throughout New Zealand. Whilst attendance at half yearly 'intensives' is strongly recommended in order to build relationships with others in the programme, only one 3-day onsite 'intensive' is compulsory.
More information about the Master of Professional Practice degree and other BTI qualifications is available at www.bti.ac.nz
Downtown Tauranga shoppers paused to acknowledge a procession of 96 Bethlehem Tertiary Institute (BTI) graduates on Saturday as they made their celebratory march from Red Square up to Holy Trinity Church for their graduation ceremony.
Onlookers may have spotted five graduates wearing green academic regalia amongst a sea of blue and gold. Those graduating from BTI’s teaching and counselling degree and diploma programmes wear blue and gold regalia. The new colour represents the very first cohort of students to graduate from BTI’s Bachelor of Social Work degree programme, which began in 2012.
The Ministry of Immigration includes social work on the long-term skills shortage list for New Zealand, so social work graduates are in a good position to find employment in a variety of social work roles nationally.
Each of the five BTI social work graduates found employment as a social worker immediately after completing their study, most of them with the organisations they did their practicum placements with. Tauranga local, Maylene Jennings, has been employed as a Care and Protection Social Worker at the Open Home Foundation in Tauranga and says she finds the work rewarding. “I had set a goal of one day working for a statutory agency that works with the most at-risk families,” says Maylene. “It is such an awesome privilege to be working alongside families, especially those who may have never felt heard before.”
The BTI social work degree programme is unique in New Zealand in that it includes a spiritual dimension, and encourages students to deeply consider how their own beliefs and values impact on their practice as a social worker.
Programme Co-ordinator, Heidi Crawford, says that many people come into social work thinking that they are going to learn how to tell people what to do. “At BTI we continually say that it must start with self,” she says. “Many of our students talk about not only a journey of becoming a social worker, but a journey of personal transformation.”
Maylene Jennings agrees. “I really believe that the social work journey has changed me to be a better version of myself from four years ago,” she says. “I am more empathetic, non-judgmental and inclusive. BTI allows you to be yourself, challenges you and provides a safe place to be honest about your values and beliefs.”