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New entry to specialist practice: allied mental health and addiction

This programme is for allied health professionals entering a mental health and addiction setting. The programme combines theory, supported clinical experience, clinical preceptorship and supervision.

People on the new entry to specialist practice (NESP): allied mental health and addiction programme develop their confidence and effective clinical practice.

The programme is available at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

Eligibility and entry requirements

Occupational therapists or social workers employed in a clinical role in a DHB or NGO mental health and addiction service, or in a mental health role in a PHO, can apply for this programme.

  • Applicants must be a New Zealand citizen or hold a New Zealand permanent resident visa.
  • Applicants must have an undergraduate degree that qualifies them to work as an occupational therapist or social worker (this is a minimum entry requirement).
  • Occupational therapy applicants must be registered.
  • Social work applicants must be registered or working towards registration.
  • Applicants must have been in the mental health workforce for two years or less.
  • Applicants must be working clinically for at least 0.6 full time equivalent (24 hours a week) where they have at least one year’s sector work experience.
  • Applicants who are new graduates must be working a minimum of 0.7 full time equivalent (28 hours a week).

Programme details

Programme participants complete a 60 point Postgraduate Certificate in Health Science (Mental Health and Addictions). This qualification focuses on recovery-oriented mental health practice. It consists of two papers: 589341 Concepts of Recovery in Mental Health and 589342 Mental Health Practice.

The programme usually takes one academic year. It involves blocks of classroom learning, online training, self-directed learning, supervision and preceptorship.

For more information on the programme content and entry criteria refer to the programme service specifications.

How to apply

Please apply directly to AUT for a funded place on the NESP allied mental health and addiction programme.

For general information about enrolment or to request an enrolment package, contact the AUT course information centre.

Support available

Academic advice



Te Pou has a wide range of evidence-based resources and tools to help the mental health, addiction and disability workforces.

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Our work

Te Pou works alongside mental health and addiction services, and disability organisations to understand their priorities and workforce challenges.

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