Onboard newsletter – June 2023

He ara pūkenga, he ara tauwhiro, hei whakamana mātā waka
The many pathways of knowledge, the many pathways of social work, upholding the dignity of all

We have lots of news and updates to share this month, so I will keep it brief for my introductory greetings. I just really wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank everyone who has engaged with us in recent weeks – whether that’s through completing a survey, joining an online hui, signing up to find out more about our mahi, or invited us to come and meet with you.

This includes those of you who engaged with our education standards review and commented on our draft education standards. In general, we are hearing that these captured the essence of the themes from last year’s engagement wānanga and hui, and that they better integrate Mātauranga Māori and other bodies of knowledge into the curriculum. When it comes to the specifics, we thank you for your detailed contributions that we will work through as we enter the next steps of the work. We expect to come back to the wider sector for consultation on the standards later in the year.

In another opportunity to build connections, we were excited by the number of responses we had from a recent email to community organisations and employers and individuals doing work that is substantially similar to social work. Many people completed our survey and signed up to find out more about the work we are doing to build a better collective understanding of this workforce, which is part of roll out of pay equity. You can read more about this mahi below.

Ngā mihi nui,

Sarah Clark
Chief Executive

Practising certificate renewals

Firstly, we would like to thank all the social workers who have already renewed their Practising Certificate (PC) for the 2023/24 practising year, completed their declaration, and participated in this year’s workforce survey.

Renewing your PC allows you to legally practise in Aotearoa and assures the public that you are committed to the professional standards that this represents, covering aspects such as supervision, continuing professional development and adhering to the code of conduct.

If you are yet to do so, please make it a priority as they need to be renewed by the end of June, ahead of the next practising year.

We greatly appreciate those who have taken the time to participate in the survey as we are able to collect valuable workforce data, gain insights, including challenges facing the sector, with policy makers, employers, and others in the social services sector.

How to renew your PC:

  1. Log in to your MySWRB (your username is your recorded email address)
  2. Click the ‘Renew my Practising Certificate’ button 
  3. Confirm your details are correct
  4. Complete your online Practising Declaration
  5. Participate in the annual workforce survey.
  6. Download a copy of your PC by either clicking the “Download PC certificate” or “Download PC wallet size” button on the right-hand side.

Please note: Your PC will not be issued until we have received payment. This includes if you have selected for your employer to be invoiced – we will need to receive payment from them before the certificate will be released.  

Ngā mihi for your mahi, Catherine Hughes

The SWRB has bid farewell to Dr Catherine Hughes who was our inaugural Chief Advisor of Social Work. She’s been with us during a significant time in our history, joining us to celebrate the introduction of mandatory registration. She brought her extensive skills and experiences to the SWRB as we stepped into the new world of mandatory, bringing her valuable sector advice and knowledge to the Board, especially within education and health.

Jeff Sanders, on behalf of the Board, expressed appreciation for her contribution during her time with us.

We all wish her well as she ventures onto a new role. We have also said haere ra to experienced educator and practitioner, Dr David McNabb, who led the implementation of changes to the experience pathway, where great progress was made to tackle a peak of applications. He was also part of the extensive work on education undertaken by the team through the year. We wish him all the best in his new position.    

This photo of Catherine and David was taken last year during an education visit to Ara Institute of Canterbury.

Education providers report 2021

The latest Education Providers Report is now available on our website.

The report relates to the 2021 academic year and is based on the education survey circulated to providers in 2022. Thank you to everyone who took time to return this survey information to us, which complements our other surveys and reports. It enables us to develop insights and briefings on the current challenges facing the social worker workforce, including factors impacting the numbers of students graduating and entering the sector.

Job opportunity for a Lead Professional Advisor Social Work, Māori | Kākaho Niho Matua Māori 

The Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) has a fantastic opportunity for a Lead Professional Advisor Social Work, Māori to join our team in Wellington.  We are looking for someone to bring their strong understanding of kaupapa Māori social work paradigms, mātauranga Māori, tikanga, and te ao Māori to the role. To be successful you will also need strong analytical abilities, good communication and engagement skills, and to be able to work effectively in a collaborative regulatory authority environment.

For further details and to download a copy of the job description, please visit the jobs page of our website.

Introducing new staff members – Lin Ayo and Megan Chapman

Lin Ayo and Megan Chapman have joined the SWRB on an exciting project that sits in the education and training space. Funding for this project was announced in the Government’s Wellbeing Budget 2022 to build Oranga Tamariki Social Worker Capability. While the training material will be developed for social workers employed by Oranga Tamariki, the project will inform future work on social work education and training and is expected to devolve into the community, supporting social workers engaged through Government funding.

Lin Ayo

My career in education began in primary teaching, before I settled into the tertiary sector eventually working across ITPs, wānanga, and in project management. I managed most aspects of student learning support including learning centres and libraries, and have always been involved across programme development, research, monitoring and audit functions, and adult learning and teaching including staff development. I have written, presented and published papers on educational leadership, the pedagogy of learning, mentoring and interdisciplinarity.

An international role I really enjoyed was working in the Kingdom of Bahrain in the Middle East. As a start-up polytechnic, it offered applied degrees and we needed to develop all programmes, policies and procedures from the beginning, within the local context. That was a great learning experience and aligned well with my strong interest in promoting quality learning experiences which enhance success for all students.

Outside of work I am a keen gardener and a very enthusiastic traveller, and love spending time with whānau and friends.

Megan Chapman

Upon graduation from Massey University in 1993, I worked as a child protection frontline social worker in Palmerston North, London and Melbourne. I returned to Aotearoa in 2003 settling on the Kāpiti Coast with my then young family and working in many varied Regional and National Office roles with Child, Youth and Family including Quality Assurance, High and Complex Needs, Disability and the Office of the Chief Social Worker. In 2015, I moved to Te Hiringa Hauora/Health Promotion Agency where I worked on health promotion campaigns relating to rheumatic fever, oral health, skin cancer prevention and nutrition and physical activity.

I started with the Social Workers Registration Board on 1 May and am excited to be working alongside Lin Ayo on the Building Oranga Tamariki Social Worker Capability Project.

In my spare time I am a keen runner, baker, candle maker and watcher of my three boys playing their various sports.

Increasing our understanding of roles that are similar to social work

We would like to find out more about the people who are doing mahi that is the “same or substantially similar” to the mahi done by registered social workers. This is part of work that is underway on the rollout of pay equity for social workers. We want to build a better collective understanding of this workforce to help inform Ministers and agencies about this sector.

We are interested in hearing from employers and individuals who have insight into this workforce. We are building a picture of:

  • Who is the workforce, what mahi are they doing, where and why?
  • What support do these professionals need?
  • What qualifications, skills and experience do these professionals bring to their role?
  • What barriers, if any, do people doing this mahi face to becoming further qualified and/or registered if that is what they want?
  • What mechanisms are in place to ensure safe practice?

You can find out more about the work, and connect with the team on our website.

Usually, the work we do as the SWRB focuses on social workers – those who are registered. This is both in our role as a regulator, but also as workforce planning lead for social workers within the government space. The work to increase our understanding of roles similar to social work is not connected to the SWRB’s regulatory functions.

Extending the experience pathway for registration

The SWRB welcomed the introduction of the Social Worker Registration Legislation Amendment Bill to extend the experience pathway for social worker registration, announced by Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister of Social Development and Employment last month.

The experience pathway is a registration pathway for people who have been working as a social worker for several years, but who do not have a recognised social work qualification. The Experience Pathway: S13 is provided for under section 13 of the Social Workers Registration Act.

Section 13 was due to be repealed in February 2024, but the Bill would make this pathway available for another four years to February 2028.

Experience pathway applicants have used their skills and experience to make a significant contribution to whānau and communities. It is an important pathway. It recognises those who have worked tirelessly, but who have not been in a position to attain a qualification.

Chair of the Board, Shannon Pakura welcomed the introduction of the Bill, saying:

“Keeping the experience pathway open would provide the mechanism for all those social workers who do not have a social work qualification to have their experience and contribution recognised. Last year, we refined the experience pathway process to ensure it is an accessible and effective route to registration. A significant number of Māori and Pasifika practitioners have applied for registration through this route.”

A time of change for ANZASW

We wish Braden Clark well as he leaves his Kaiwhakahaere role at ANZASW to focus on his PhD research. We know he will continue to be an advocate for the profession and a supporter of the work of ANZASW as he takes these next steps in his career.

We look forward to meeting with the new Kaiwhakahaere as they settle into their role.

Social Work Awards 2023

Reminder! The closing date for nominations for the Social Work Awards 2023 is 18 June 2023.

As sponsor of the Quality Practice Award, we encourage you to find out more about the awards on the ANZASW website.

Published 14 June 2023