A matter of degrees: The role of education in the professionalisation journey of social work in New Zealand


  • Liz Beddoe University of Auckland




social work practice, social work education, professionalisation, Social Work Registration Act 2003, social work qualification,


Social work in Aotearoa New Zealand (ANZ) is a contested profession on a journey of professionalisation in an era where contradictory forces impact on its position and strength. Social work education reflects these tensions, being influenced by economic and political forces. The delineation of a benchmark qualification for entry is a core feature of professional status and so the inception of professionalregistration has impacted on social work education in ANZ as it has elsewhere. The aim of this paper is to explore dimensions of the history of social work education in ANZ, the impact of the Social Workers Registration Act (2003) (SWRA) and to examine some current constraints and consider the challenges professional education faces in the next 50 years. It is argued that social work education has been, is and will remain a site of struggle.


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How to Cite

Beddoe, L. (2016). A matter of degrees: The role of education in the professionalisation journey of social work in New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 26(2-3), 17–28. https://doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol26iss2-3id39