The Indigenous Financial Counselling Mentorship Program began in 2008 with ICAN’s vision to raise the number of qualified and accredited Indigenous financial counsellors across Australia.
At the onset of ICAN’s first ‘Mentorship Program’, there existed only four qualified Indigenous financial counsellors in Australia. Armed with it’s vision to Empower Indigenous Consumers, ICAN had set about the task of improving access to quality financial counselling services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in remote communities – whom often experience high volumes of consumer and financial detriment, due to limited financial literacy rates, English as a second language and geographical and cultural barriers to accessing support services. ICAN felt the best way to tackle this detriment was to armour and empower Indigenous peoples themselves, with the tools to combat their own issues in their own communities, by training Indigenous peoples in the Diploma of Community Services (Financial Counselling) – to become qualified and accredited financial counsellors.
The Program is a culturally specific Diploma training program modelled on student support and mentorship for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander financial counsellors and financial capability workers located in some of Australia’s most remote locations. With a dedicated training coordinator, the program includes personal and academic mentorship in a supported learning environment, connecting students through virtual and face-to-face classroom oriented training. The program provides accredited training to Indigenous peoples in the Diploma of Community Services (Financial Counselling), developing the skill set of Indigenous peoples working in their local communities and raising the number of qualified Indigenous financial counsellors nationally.
ICAN’s Mentorship Program is delivered in partnership with the Commonwealth Bank Foundation, it’s industry partner since 2006 and the Central Institute of Technology (Western Australia), ICAN’s partner registered training organisation. In seven years, the program has scaled significantly to achieve a national reach. ICAN has successfully graduated 19 participants through its 2012 and 2014 programs, and with Commonwealth Bank’s continued investment, is providing scholarships for 24 Indigenous student placements in the 2015-2016 programs. The Mentorship Program is recognised within the financial counselling sector as a best practice training model for Indigenous people wishing to undertake the Diploma.
ICAN is embarking on a new journey with the 2015 program rollout. In a Commonwealth Bank-funded scholarship arrangement, ICAN is in a unique position to be able to support the professional development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in some very remote locations across Australia, where organisations, financial counselling staff and their clients can directly benefit from the Mentorship Program.
For further information about the program, contact:
Majella Anderson -Training Coordinator
Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network
Phone: (07) 4031 1073