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

Social workers who were already underway with the previous version of the experience pathway: S13 assessment (full framework) before notification of changes was released, still have the option of completing this assessment. The full framework will be accepted until 30 June 2020. After this time only applications on the new stage two template (coming soon!) will be considered.

The experience pathway is a two-stage process with the first stage now available, as follows. Stage two is being developed and will be posted shortly.

Stage One:

Application process – stage one

In stage one of the application process, we suggest you call us first to discuss your application so we can advise you about whether to proceed. The number to call is 0508 797 269 and you will speak to a member of our registration team.

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

Once you’ve spoken with our registration team, you will need to fill out the template below (Stage one – S13 framework), which includes the following 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.

Stage one - S13 framework

You can submit your stage one document to applications@swrb.govt.nz.

You will then need to be available for a phone or video-call interview with an SWRB social worker, which 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.


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 are considering making an application using the Experience Pathway: S13, please call us before you start and we would be happy to talk with you, on 04 931 2650 or 0508 797 269.