Earlier this month, Indigenous Financial Counselling Mentorship Program participants celebrated their graduation in Cairns, when fifteen students received their Diploma of Community Services (Financial Counselling).
The second national Mentorship program was delivered over a 12-month period, bringing together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory, reflecting the growing number of Indigenous peoples working in the financial counselling and capability sector. For students in the Mentorship Program, graduating with the Diploma has made a significant personal impact. “I felt really proud of my accomplishment! I am heaps more confident in my work and both staff and family have really noticed the difference,” said Sandy Rosas of ICAN. “I would encourage other mature age students to give it a go, you can really surprise yourself.”
The Mentorship Program began as a seedling of an idea by ICAN and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, to increase the number of qualified and accredited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander financial counsellors. “When ICAN and our partner the Commonwealth Bank set out to increase the number of Indigenous financial counsellors throughout Australia, there were less than a handful, with the graduation of this year’s student body, we have increased that number tenfold,” said Aaron Davis, ICAN Chief Executive Officer.
For many students in the 2015-16 program, having the Diploma qualification has resulted in new career pathways and has equipped them with knowledge and skills to assist their communities through financial counselling. “I have now been offered a role as an Associate Financial Counsellor (Qualified) within ICAN and am delivering my own financial counselling outreach program in one of Cairns’ most disadvantaged suburbs,” Sandy explained.
A great outcome of the national Indigenous Financial Counselling Mentorship Program is the networking and relationships built between participants from all over Australia. Ms. Rosas said, “I formed a close relationship with the students from Kempsey (NSW) and hope to go for a holiday down there to see them before Christmas. I think we’ll all be keeping in touch.”
The Indigenous Financial Counselling Mentorship program provides nationally accredited training through the Diploma of Community Services (Financial Counselling), and offers personal and academic mentorship in a supported learning environment, connecting students through face-to-face classroom and weekly online training sessions. The program is delivered in partnership with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, who sponsors scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student participants to successfully undertake their studies. The Commonwealth Bank Mentorship Program scholarships cover the full course fees for the Diploma.
ICAN and the Commonwealth Bank will be offering 12 scholarships in the third national Indigenous Financial Counselling Mentorship Program, planned for mid-2017. “Over the coming year, ICAN will be speaking with financial counselling services from across Australia to promote the CBA sponsored scholarships and the need for culturally competent service delivery in Indigenous communities,” said Mr Davis.
The 2017 program will focus on delivery of the newly developed Diploma of Financial Counselling. If you’d like more information about the 2017 program, contact Majella Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 369 878.