ICAN and CBA Lead the Way for Indigenous Financial Counseling

The Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network Ltd (ICAN) and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) are creating pathways to up-skill Indigenous people in financial counseling.

The ICAN Indigenous Financial Counseling Mentorship Program provides support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ICAN staff to undertake accredited training in the Diploma of Community Services (Financial Counseling) as well as workplace training in client casework.

The program was developed through an existing partnership between ICAN and the Commonwealth Bank.

Aaron Davis, ICAN Chief Executive Officer says he wants ICAN staff to have access to training opportunities that will not only benefit ICAN’s service delivery but also build real career pathways for Indigenous people.

As a pilot, the mentorship program trained one ICAN staff member in 2008 to 2009.  In 2010, the program is expanding to train up to 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members in the Diploma of Community Services.

Peter Harm, Executive Manager for Indigenous Banking envisions the benefits for Indigenous people training through the program.

“When the ICAN staff completes their training, they will become a few of only a handful of accredited Indigenous financial counselors in Australia,” he said.

The partnership between the community organisation and the financial giant brings other benefits as well.

Aaron says the CBA sponsorship allows ICAN to develop and deliver culturally appropriate programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Peter says the strength of the partnership with ICAN is that a two way communication exists.

“It provides us with opportunities to continually learn what is happening both in the financial world as well as in the remote communities,” he said.

“It has lead to CBA winning the Queensland Government Reconciliation Awards in 2010”

The financial counseling mentorship program is a component of the Commonwealth Bank’s larger commitment to reconciliation under their Reconciliation Action Plan (CBA 2008).

ICAN is a free financial counseling and consumer advocacy service for Indigenous Australians.