Experience pathway: S13

The experience pathway may be for you if you have a lot of social work experience in New Zealand, (at least 10-15 years or longer), but do not have an SWRB-recognised social work qualification.

We want you to know we value your experience, your networks, and your contribution to the lives of those you work with.

We will want to understand how you see yourself as a social worker, and hear from your colleagues including registered social workers, your supervisor and employer. You can show your practice and knowledge with some additional written material.

You can apply in Te Reo Māori for this pathway.

Experience pathway: S13 Social Workers Registration Board

The experience pathway is a two-stage process, as follows:

Stage One:

Application process – stage one

Stage one of the experience pathway: S13 pathway includes

  • a written application in three parts (below) and to follow,
  • a phone/video interview with an SWRB social worker

The written application contains three parts:

  1. Describe the journey that has led you to social work. Then outline the extent of your social work practice in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally. We want to understand your connection to, and relationship with the social work profession.
  2. Summarise your social work roles (including where you used or developed your social work skills and knowledge), the years working in those roles and your tasks and responsibilities. Include both paid and voluntary positions that you have held (e.g. community work, iwi engagement, committees). We are looking for at least 10-15 years practising social work in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  3. List the professional development you have undertaken.  Professional development is the strengthening and enhancement of your knowledge, expertise and competence in social work throughout your career. We are looking for a record of ongoing professional development and professional supervision throughout your social work career.

Please apply by filling out the following Stage One S13 template document:

Stage one – S13 template

Stage one – S13 template – Te Reo Māori

You can submit your stage one document to applications@swrb.govt.nz. If you need any advice or help with your application, please call us on 0508 797 269 to talk to a member of our registration team.

There is a non-refundable fee to pay for this application which is $276.

Once you have submitted your stage one application, you will then need to be available for a phone or video-call interview with an SWRB social worker.

The phone interview will include the following questions:

  • What fields/areas of practice (e.g. children, adults, whānau, older people, Māori, Pacific peoples, health, management etc) have you worked in, and what do you see as your area of practice?
  • What are the values that underpin your practice?
  • Could you tell us about some of the key learning (continuing professional development) that has helped to shape your practice over the course of your career. 
  • Who will support you through the second stage of your application if the SWRB recommends you progress?
  • Is there anything else you would like to tell us that supports your application?

We may ask other questions based on the information you provide.

Apply for Registration

You now need to apply for registration before moving onto stage two; here.

Stage Two:

Application process – stage two

To begin stage two of the Experience Pathway: S13 you must first have:

Stage two is in four parts and assesses the extent of your social work practice in Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Part 1: Knowledge of the social science underpinning social work practice
  • Part 2: Knowledge of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the multi-cultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand society
  • Part 3: Knowledge of social work theories, skills and fields of practice
  • Part 4: Knowledge of specific field of social work practice

The stage two assessment template is available for viewing here:

Experience Pathway: S13 Stage Two assessment template

Experience Pathway: S13 Stage Two assessment template - Te Reo Māori

Applications will be assessed once fees are paid in full:

  • The fee for stage two assessment is $1,400.
  • The fee to apply to register is $345.

Process and policy documents

For background, check out the Experience Pathway: S13 process and policy documents:

Experience Pathway: S13 process

Experience Pathway: S13 policy


The principles which apply to the process


Provides evidence of significant social work experience in New Zealand, (10-15 years or longer).

Knowledgeable and competent

Demonstrates the SWRB 10 core competence standards, including:

  • an understanding of social work theory
  • competence to practise social work with Māori
  • competence to practise social work with different ethnic and cultural groups in New Zealand.


Can describe their practice and call on others who will verify and vouch for their social work practice skills.

Fit and proper

Meets the current SWRB requirements to provide assurance of safe practice. Practises in accordance with the SWRB Code of Conduct.

Professionally connected

Identifies a range of professional connections within social work, engages in regular supervision and continuing professional development.

Ethical and reflective

Provides evidence of ethical and reflective practice and an awareness of the the SWRB Code of Conduct and the ANZASW Code of Ethics.


Can call on the support of other registered social workers to provide assurance of competence and quality.

The principles use multiple reference points to assess the practical experience of the social worker. The endorsement of professional colleagues, co-workers, supervisors, and the applicant’s self-assessment, along with any qualifications, provide a robust framework to consider suitability for registration.

If you have previously been recommended to move onto the Full Framework (the earlier assessment for this pathway), you have the choice of continuing with that assessment or completing the new stage two assessment. Please note that if you choose to complete the Full Framework, it must be submitted by 30 June 2020. After this time, only stage two assessments will be accepted.