The announcement on mandatory registration for social workers by Minister Tolley has been welcomed by leading tertiary education health and social services providers Whitireia New Zealand and the Wellington Institute of Technology.
“The requirement for all social workers to be registered has been long-awaited by those working and teaching in the social work field,” says Jean Mitaera, Whitireia Social Work Lead and registered social worker.
Jean Mitaera, attending the Family Violence Summit in Wellington yesterday where the announcement was made, says, “The registration requirement means professional standards will be in place across the social work sector; the use of the name and profession of social work will be protected; and there will be recourse around the practice and safety of social workers which can be accessed by the public.
“This is a landmark announcement which has been supported by Whitireia, not only as an educator of social workers, but also as an Executive Member of the Council of Social Work Education Aotearoa New Zealand.
“The profession of social work will now have the same status as others working in the health and social services sectors.
“People will be able to have confidence in the competence and qualifications of registered social workers,” says Jean Mitaera.
“At Whitireia we also put learning centres inside an organisation to support health and social service organisations. We partner with organisations to develop learning centres mentoring staff currently employed to progress them through the registration process helping to develop a qualified workforce. This in turn supports the quality of service provision for the wider community and Whitireia student placements.”
Whitireia and WelTec Chief Executive Chris Gosling says, “The challenge for government agencies and NGOs is to make the investment to ensure staff are properly qualified and registered. We are very well placed to meet the new demand for training that will be generated by mandatory registration. The Bachelor of Social Work degree is the ideal pathway which allows graduates to meet these new registration requirements.
“Social workers deal with some of New Zealand’s most disenfranchised children and families,” says Kendra Beri, Whitireia and WelTec Head of Social Services. “The work is important and complex and it is therefore important that practitioners keep up-to-date in their competency which will be assured through the compulsory registration process.