When Lara Hawkins is stressed, she does a budget to calm down. That’s how much she loves managing money. As a person with a disability, ICAN Learn’s Financial Literacy Education skillset is not only a powerful tool for Lara to use when managing her own money, she’s using it to launch her new career.
Welcome Lara! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m originally from Sydney, but my travels led me to Lightning Ridge, which I love and now never want to leave. I previously worked as an Education Support Officer, helping people get through their studies and supporting teachers and students to ensure they were on track with their needs. I really enjoyed it, but it was time for a career change.
Congratulations on completing the Financial Literacy Education Skillset. Why this course?
I have a passion for managing money and budgeting that borders on obsession. If I’m stressed, doing a budget calms me down! I love it so much that the logical step forward was to make it my career. Initially, I thought about studying financial counselling, but then I realised how much financial capability workers can do to improve people’s wellbeing before they need to see a financial counsellor. That’s why I signed up for ICAN Learn‘s Financial Literacy Education Skillset (FLE) instead.
I’ve learned a lot about managing my money and budgeting through my lived experiences as a person with a disability. It’s where my passion comes from. Realising that I can help other people like me make better financial decisions through my career choice is incredibly powerful.
Was it what you expected?
The course covered everything I’m interested in and more. I completed it online with students from various backgrounds, including employees from community services and corporate organisations. The training is really engaging, and the content is fantastic. As an entry-level course in this sector, I’d say it’s top-notch.
Can you tell us about the course highlights?
I was genuinely surprised to learn just how much financial capability workers can accomplish. One of the highlights for me was learning the differences between a financial capability worker and a financial counsellor. It’s critical that financial capability workers understand this difference. The legal do’s and don’ts of each role were made very clear to us during the course. The training also gave me a good overview of the different strategies I can use when working with clients and the boundaries I need to maintain.
It was also interesting to find out how the debt collection process works and the legal boundaries. The course resources ICAN Learn provided were fantastic and something I can continue to refer to.
Who would benefit from taking the FLE course?
This course would be extremely beneficial for people who need to manage their NDIS funding, or anyone that wants to improve their financial literacy and understand how the Australian money system works.
I’d also highly recommend the FLE course to any employer in the financial wellbeing sector and those with hardship teams. The diversity of participants and employees in my class – from collection agencies to NILS providers – allowed us to have great discussions and consider different viewpoints. By the end of the course, the consistent feedback from students was they had a better understanding of how easily people can get into hardship. Just look at the cost-of-living crisis and the current service demand. Organisations will definitely achieve better client results if their employees complete this training.
It’s totally worth doing – so don’t wait, just jump in!
Can you tell us about your future goals?
I’m really excited about the opportunities that have opened up for me, including my volunteer work with GambleAware. Financial Literacy isn’t something that’s generally taught in schools, or if it is, it isn’t working because most people seem to get a credit card as soon as they turn 18. I think we can do much better than that. My ultimate goal is to start a Not-For-Profit that empowers people in the community to make better life decisions. I’m taking little steps, but they lead to big change.
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