Graduate Diploma in Disability Sector Leadership

The New Zealand Disability Support Network (NZDSN) has an agreement with the Open Polytechnic, to provide up to 16 free places for people working in organisations that are NZDSN members onto the online Graduate Diploma in Disability Sector Leadership.  This arrangement is available now until the places are taken.  

NZDSN has representation on the Open Polytechnic’s Social Health and Wellbeing Stakeholder Advisory Group that has had oversight of the development of this diploma.  NZDSN believes that this qualification will help to address a gap in the professional development needs of many senior staff in our member organisations.  

This offer is exciting and timely as we see many significant changes having an impact on our sector, including the establishment of Whaikaha and an increasing focus on Enabling Good Lives (EGL).  We need to ensure we have strong and effective leadership at all levels of the disability sector who have a deep understanding of the EGL principles and can facilitate, collaborate, and lead in the next phase of building new models and systems to support disabled people and their families and whānau.

The fees-free places are available to people who are either employed by an NZDSN Member Organisation OR an NZDSN Individual member.

The Programme

The online Graduate Diploma in Disability Sector Leadership will prepare people to work in the rapidly transforming disability sector as confident, competent, responsive and collaborative leaders.  The programme provides an opportunity for people with an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, or professional experience in the disability sector, to upskill in leadership and progress their careers in the sector.

Applications for the 2023 academic year are now open.  Contact: SocialHealth.Wellbeing@openpolytechnic.ac.nz at the Open Polytechnic for further information about entry criteria into the programme. 

You will need to provide evidence from the Open Polytechnic that you meet their academic entry criteria before submitting this application to NZDSN.  You need to email SocialHealth.Wellbeing@openpolytechnic.ac.nz to confirm you meet the academic requirements.  Please attach the email response from the Open Polytechnic to your application to NZDSN as evidence that you do.

The application process for an allocated NZDSN “fees-free” enrolment onto the programme is now open!

The Application Process

  1. See information on NZDSN or Open Polytechnic website
  2. Do you meet the academic requirements for entry (talk to Open Polytechnic)?
  3. Once academic requirements are confirmed, seek scholarship approval from NZDSN

NZDSN will select candidates to be put forward to the Open Polytechnic to be considered for enrolment fees-free.  

To apply:

  1. In the first instance, read the information on the programme available on NZDSN’s website or on the Open Polytechnic’s website to be confident you meet the academic requirements for the programme and understand the commitment required (See the links at the bottom of this article).
  2. Confirm you meet the academic requirements with the Open Polytechnic, by contacting SocialHealth.Wellbeing@openpolytechnic.ac.nz
  3. Approach NZDSN to apply for a scholarship for fees-free.  This should include
  4. Complete the NZDSN application form (see the link below)
  5. Please provide an introduction of yourself that illustrates your work history in the disability sector (minimum two years) and/or your lived experience of disability.
  6. In up to 200 words, please explain the leadership contribution you expect to make in our sector, having successfully completed the Graduate Diploma in Disability Leadership.  We invite you to demonstrate strong leadership and to be brave and courageous in your message.  Note: that your contribution may be published on NZDSN’s closed Facebook page for other sector leaders to view and comment.
  7. Provide evidence from the Open Polytechnic that you meet their academic entry criteria for the Graduate Diploma in Disability Sector Leadership.
  8. Provide evidence that your employer agrees to support you to undertake the course (eg: by providing study time or other specified accommodations that will meet your needs for the duration of your Diploma study).

Send your application to admin@nzdsn.org.nz.  For a 2023 start we’d need students to be completing their enrolment with us by early February.

The successful candidates will then be recommended to the Open Polytechnic for enrolment “fees free” under NZDSN’s allocated 16 spaces.

Graduate Diploma in Disability Sector Leadership Fact Sheet pdf

Graduate Diploma in Disability Sector Leadership Study Plan pdf

Graduate Diploma in Disability Sector Leadership Application form pdf

Graduate Diploma in Disability Sector Leadership Application form word