BAC practicum information

About Practicum placements

The Practicum placements within the Bachelor of Applied Counselling at Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) | Te Pūkenga are an integral part of the education and training of MIT ākonga (students).

The placements are based on a four-way partnership between:

  • The BAC practicum ākonga (student)
  • The agency (a School or health service, represented by an appointed Practicum Liaison Person (PLP) who will be the representative of the placement school or agency
  • An External Supervisor (ES)
  • The MIT | Te Pūkenga BAC Practicum Team.

The MIT | Te Pūkenga dedicated BAC Practicum Team consists of academic staff members who are assigned to support the BAC practicum students.

Why be a practicum agency?

Student placements form an important link between the Counselling endorsement and the community. Placements provide ākonga (students) with professional practice experience and seek to equip graduates with the knowledge and skills needed for employment in community agencies and health services.

When do our ākonga (students) complete practicums?

Students complete Practicum requirements in the second and third years of the BAC Degree.

The placements are designed to give students skills and experience in such areas as understanding agencies and systems, developing awareness of professional roles, collaborative practice, working with clients, professional practice, records, referrals, presentation of work, and effective use of supervision.

What is required from a practicum agency?

The practicum agency is required to have a Clinical Practicum Experience Agreement (CPEA) with MIT | Te Pūkenga – signed by a Manager, Principal or Representative of the whole organisation. You can contact the BAC Practicum Administrator for support with this.

Additionally, MIT | Te Pūkenga requires that all placements are formalised between the agency and MIT | Te Pūkenga. Individual placement agreements are signed by the student, the Practicum Liaison Person (PLP), and the BAC Practicum Facilitator.

Criteria for a Placement Agency, School or Health Service

The purpose of Practicum placements is for students to gain experience in professional counselling practice within a community agency, school or health service. It is therefore important that placement agencies can provide a Practicum experience based on the following criteria:

  • A clear structure and organisational framework e.g. procedures, appropriate case management, and structural links to other organizations
  • Relevant workplace statutes such as Health and Safety, Human Rights Act, and Privacy Act are adhered to
  • The agency has a complaints procedure or there is agreement to follow MIT’s Complaints Policies and Procedures
  • A client group with a range of issues
  • Appropriate processes for working with clients
  • Opportunity to work within a team and develop appropriate professional behaviour
  • A person available to be the Placement Liaison Person (PLP) who will:
    • Mentor the student during placement – this person does not have to be a Counsellor.
    • Liaise with the BAC Practicum Team
    • Monitor any risk factors in the work and ensure the student is aware of the agency’s risk management policies and procedures
    • Provide a written report of the student’s placement at the end of each semester. Appropriate current templates can be accessed in the BAC Practicum Resource Centre in CANVAS.
Ākonga (Students) responsibilities

  • Negotiating the placement with the Practicum Liaison Person (PLP) and BAC Practicum Facilitators
  • Having a discussion with the Practicum Liaison Person (PLP) to prepare the individualised aspect of the contract that is specific to their placement situation
  • Developing learning goals, together with the Agency Liaison using MIT module material, and reviewing the goals regularly
  • Taking the Practicum documentation, relevant module outlines, and learning goals (established with PLP) to an external Supervisor (ES)
  • Keeping a learning journal throughout the placements
  • Complying with NZAC Code of Ethics, agency policies and legislation relating to client confidentiality and release of information
  • Negotiating a supervision agreement with the External Supervisor (ES) and BAC Practicum Facilitators. The external Supervisor should be on MIT’s Approved Supervisors List
  • Attending external Supervision while on placement, having one ES session every ten hours of counselling clients 1:10. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange an alternative supervision time if unable to attend a supervision session. Students are responsible for the costs incurred through participating in supervision
  • A minimum of two recordings each semester of client work to an external Supervisor for comment and feedback
  • Complying with the Health and Safety requirements of the agency or health service
  • Regarding placement as an employment situation, dressing appropriately, following the instructions of the agency, and being punctual on agency days and notifying Agency Liaison if unable to be at placement
  • Receiving and using constructive feedback to inform practice from your Practicum Liaison Person (PLP) and external supervisor (ES), and taking responsibility for his/her own learning and fulfilling the requirements for the Practicum
  • Discussing any concerns at the earliest opportunity with the external Supervisor (ES), MIT Practicum Facilitators, and Practicum Liaison Person (PLP), ensuring that concerns raised and discussed in one forum are also communicated with the other parties concerned
  • Meet regularly with the Practicum Liaison Person (or other allocated personnel) to monitor work load and other line management/supervision concerns
  • Completing and discussing with Practicum Liaison Person (PLP) and External Supervisor (ES), placement reports at the end of each semester, and completing a Student Practicum Report yourself.
Ākonga (Students) Rights in a placement
  • Be treated as part of the team in which they are working
  • Receive information, constructive feedback and support, to ensure a positive learning experience
  • Provide feedback to the MIT | Te Pūkenga BAC Practicum Facilitators about the learning experience and support received during the placement.
Responsibilities of the Practicum Liaison Person (PLP)
  • Liaising with BAC Practicum Team and the placement student
  • Signing the BAC Practicum placement agreement
  • Establishing and planning the student’s orientation to the agency, school or health service
  • Ensuring that appropriate resources are available for each student to carry out their Practicum
  • Negotiating goals and objectives for the student and monitoring these
  • Having overall responsibility for the placement while the student is engaged in experiential learning at the agency, school or health service
  • Having the responsibility for monitoring any risk factors in the student’s work and ensuring the student is aware of the agency’s risk management policies and procedures.
  • The practicum liaison person (PLP) will also ensure that the student is not placed in any situation which is likely to develop beyond the student’s capacity or level of knowledge and experience
  • Informing the BAC Practicum Facilitators of any concerns that need to be attended to:
    • Completing the Practicum Liaison Report, at the end of each semester, reflecting on ways in which student has met (or not) established goals and placement requirements as scheduled
    • Be available to participate in a four – way meeting at towards the end of the students’ academic / practicum year either in person (whenever possible) or online, as appropriate.
    • Speaking directly with BAC Practicum Facilitators and/or External Supervisor (ES) when serious concerns arise so that the student has the opportunity to make whatever changes may be required as soon as possible.
MIT | Te Pūkenga BAC Practicum Facilitator responsibilities
  • Liaising with agency or health service staff to negotiate student placements each year and signing an agreement at an initial meeting Being available to all parties to discuss any issues that arise during the Practicum. If any concerns or problems arise, the MIT BAC Practicum Team should be notified
  • Pre-practicum placement preparation for students
  • Taking part in meetings, telephone calls, or visits to agency or health service as requested by Practicum Liaison Person (PLP), External Supervisor (ES), or BAC Practicum student
  • It may be necessary to act according to the limits of confidentiality if a student is considered, at any time, not fit to practice
  • Be available to participate in a four – way meeting towards the end of the students’ academic / practicum year either in person (whenever possible) or online, as appropriate.
External Supervision (ES)

Students are required to have regular professional supervision while completing their Practicum placement. This is usually with an External Supervisor (ES) of the student’s choice (approved by the MIT BAC Practicum Team).

The External Supervisor will be required to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a full member of an appropriate professional body (eg: NZAC)
  • Be a suitably qualified and experienced counsellor
  • Have completed some supervision training
  • To be currently on MIT’s Approved External Supervisors List or provide a CV with two referees to the BAC Practicum Team for MIT | Te Pūkenga approval.

External Supervisor’s responsibilities

  • Negotiating a Practicum Supervision Agreement (template provided by student) with the student and the MIT BAC Practicum Team
  • Discussing with the student, the student’s placement goals and objectives, and how these might be monitored
  • Providing professional supervision on a regular basis - at least monthly (1 session per 10 client sessions)
  • Arranging an alternative time if either supervisor or student is unable to keep a supervision session
  • Providing professional guidance to the student as a counsellor-in-training
  • Assisting the student to integrate theory with practice
  • Demonstrating skills of practice relevant to the focus of the placement
  • Advising when a student’s personal concern is beyond the scope of supervision and advising the student to participate in personal counselling
  • Informing the BAC Practicum Facilitators of any concerns that need to be dealt with before the external supervisor reports are due
  • Critiquing the practical work undertaken by the student during the placement and providing constructive comments
  • Monitoring the frequency of supervision sessions remembering that the minimum requirements are at least monthly with an overall ratio of 1:10 hours of client counselling.
  • Completing an External Supervisors Report the end of each semester, reflecting on ways in which student has met (or not) established goals and supervision requirements as scheduled
  • Be available to participate in a four – way meeting towards the end of the students’ academic / practicum year either in person (whenever possible) or online, as appropriate
  • Speaking directly with BAC Practicum Facilitators when serious concerns arise so that the student has the opportunity to make whatever changes may be required as soon as possible.
Year 2 and 3 BAC Practicum requirements

Direct and Indirect Practicum hours

Full-time students are to complete approximately 250 placement hours over the year in an approved agency placement. The 250 hours are spread over the two Practicum modules each academic / practicum placement year in Year 2 and Year 3.

Placement hours are divided into:

  • Direct hours: A minimum of 100 face-to-face client counselling hours
  • Indirect hours: 150 hours work with the same placement agency or health service where you are completing your direct hours. If you go over 150 hours, this is fine. You do not have to log these indirect hours with MIT | Te Pūkenga. You are working within a trust model for this.

The placement should be continuous throughout the MIT study year and occur on one or more days per week.

During Indirect hours students can include (and other practicum placement-related activities not listed):

  • Writing case notes
  • Meeting with agency supervisor
  • Meeting with external Supervisor
  • Peer supervision
  • Case management or staff meetings within or beyond the agency
  • Phone calls to arrange client appointments
  • Meetings with other professionals such as teachers
  • Assisting with practical tasks within the agency such as answering phones and other associated administrative tasks
  • Consulting client records
  • Listening to own client recordings
  • Reading, research and preparation for sessions
  • Attending networking meetings
  • Creating a resource for the agency such as an anti-bullying resource kit
  • Attending agency, school or health service school activities to support clients
  • Observing a counselling session
  • Attending agency PD / training
  • Supporting the agency in fundraising activities.

Length of a counselling session – please refer to the BAC Practicum Resource Centre in CANVAS.

ONE counselling hour is at least 50 minutes.

In some circumstances you may be required to do a short session for e.g.

  • They are working with a young child or person who is unable to tolerate more than a 25-minute session.
  • Their client is distressed or has a presentation which prevents them from being able to tolerate more than a 25-minute session. The 25-minute session is the minimum session time acceptable for your counselling log.

A Counselling Session that runs longer that 1 hour may be required under certain circumstances e.g.

  • Client presents with safety risk and is unable to be left unattended
  • Provide time for culturally appropriate practices e.g. whanau hui.
  • The student is required to provide rationale for the extended session for the additional time to be counted. It is preferred.

In these cases, the student may be asked to provide rationale for both.

The expectations of the Year 2 and 3 Practicums include:

  • Participating in an induction to the agency
  • Negotiating the placement and working with the Practicum Liaison Person (PLP).
  • An introduction to professional practice within an agency or health service
  • Contributing to the work of the agency or health service
  • Providing counselling for individuals, couples, families, or groups as negotiated with the Practicum Liaison Person (PLP), External Supervisor (ES), and BAC Practicum Facilitator.
  • Following appropriate systems and ethical requirements for ‘case management’
  • Receiving external supervision from an MIT | Te Pūkenga approved supervisor
  • Integrating the theories, interventions and modalities, they are learning into their practice with clients
  • Conducting themselves in ways that are ethical, honest, reflective, and self-aware, and recognise practice issues and client relationships that challenge them. Students are expected to be journaling throughout their studies and are encouraged to seek counselling for themselves where that is deemed appropriate.

Students are expected to conduct themselves appropriately and professionally in their manner, dress, and language. They are expected to fulfil the tasks they are assigned within their ability and competence. It is expected that they will follow agency procedures in such matters as taking notes, maintaining confidentiality, and attending staff or other meetings when invited to do so, BAC study permitting. Students are to be in class when required (timetabled) and not be counselling clients or engaging in any other agency activity during class times.

MIT | Te Pūkenga supports student Practicum by providing small group supervision in addition to the other supervision requirements. During class group supervision sessions students may discuss or present ‘case’ work and give and receive feedback about their counselling practice and work.

Students may be encouraged to complete placement in two different Practicum placement settings over the course of their training to ensure they receive a range of experiences with different client groups.

Professional Association Membership

Interest in and engagement with NZAC is encouraged for students. Students are encouraged to meet the requirements for provisional membership by their third year of training. Student memberships, where available and engagement with the counselling community is encouraged.

Working ethically - NZAC Code of Ethics

All students are to abide by the New Zealand Association of Counsellor’s Code of Ethics. You are encouraged learn all the components before you start your practicum. A copy can be downloaded from