Ballarat benefits from industry-focused course

Narelle Clark – Financial Counsellor at Child and Family Services (Ballarat)

Narelle Clark came to ICAN Learn through links with Child and Family Services [also known as CAFS] in Ballarat. Narelle was still working in the banking sector, where she spent the last 12 years and felt that her values were more aligned with a profession that focused on social justice. Narelle discovered financial counselling and then pursued ways of undertaking the Diploma of Financial Counselling. 

“Pursuing a new career while working is difficult, coming to ICAN Learn, I found a responsive and flexible approach to meet those challenges,” said Narelle. I undertook the Diploma to realise my goal, and I chose ICAN Learn through the recommendation of experienced financial counsellors.”

“I needed more knowledge of relevant laws and other financial and legal aspects, beyond what I’d used in my banking role.” Recounted Narelle, “the study gives me great reference material and supports interview and case planning; equally, it is useful when undertaking reflective practice. I was able to tie things together by undertaking my placement, that led to my employment as a financial counsellor at CAFS.”  

ICAN Learn executive officer Bernadette Pasco highlights the personal benefits of place-based learning for regional students. “Most of our students are employed and mature adult learners,” said Bernadette. “Local delivery allows them to maintain their current work and study while transitioning to a new career. It’s a win/win.”

Narelle described the relationships developed and rapport built with peers as a personal benefit.”My classmates are all now working in the sector, which helped with study and now case discussions,” said Narelle. “This all provides greater access to resources, professional networks and financial counselling events. We also collectively share an understanding of the needs and different approaches for individuals living rurally and regionally.”

“Our Anglicare partnership in Bendigo opened up new possibilities for industry led training in regional Australia, said Bernadette. Their fantastic support has demonstrated the benefit of keeping both people and training on the job local.”

ICAN Learn delivered the course using a combination of one week blocks and weekend workshops to keep people in the day to day workforce. Narelle highlighted, “I haven’t used many weekdays for class time, which has allowed more time for direct client service experience and additional professional development opportunities.”

“We’re looking forward to supporting more regional partnership initiatives in the future, said Bernadette. There’s a real financial counselling training gap for both agencies and people wanting to get into the industry in regional and more remote Australia. People like Narelle make a real difference in their communities.”