As the third National Indigenous Financial Counselling Mentorship Program (IFCMP) commenced in Cairns, a whole new Multi-Cultural Scholarship Program (MCSP) sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank launched in Melbourne last month. The Multi-Cultural Scholarship Program follows the success of the IFCMP and aims to build even greater diversity within the financial counselling sector. “We know from developing Indigenous financial counsellors that there are great benefits for communities that have financial counselling services delivered by people that not only have the required knowledge and skills, but an inherent cultural competence and shared lived experience,” said ICAN Learn Executive Officer, Bernadette Pasco.
Victoria was chosen as the launch state, as it has significant support structures and legislation to support Multi Cultural communities. The ICAN Learn program is based in the Melbourne CBD and has started well with 14 students from diverse backgrounds. Program interest from across Australia led to participants from Alice Springs, Derby and Cairns also joining the new initiative via online modalities.
“ICAN Learn is thrilled to have experienced financial counsellors and trainers, Robyn Shepherd-Murdoch and Cheryl Buttigieg on board to deliver the program, making good on our commitment to provide sector driven professional development and training delivered by industry professionals,” said Bernadette. “Like the IFCMP, we will also be incorporating our extensive industry connections into the delivery.”
ICAN Learn Trainer, Robyn Shepherd-Murdoch was slightly nervous going in to the course, as the MCSP is a totally new initiative for the sector. “Those feelings were short lived, the engagement, quality of assessments and overwhelming feedback from the group has been really encouraging”, said Robyn.
Quality of support was highlighted in class feedback as a common theme, with one student saying, “I’m really enjoying this course so much better and much more support than my first degree” and another, “definitely a step up from my economics degree.” Many participants also expressed that it’s great that the trainer gets back to you quickly, with an answer to your email concern or question.
What’s great about adult education is that sharing of knowledge goes both ways. “Coming from countries all over the world the group openly discusses cultural differences when it comes to money, I have learned a lot about different cultures and values already in the first week,” said Robyn. “It’s also great to see everyone starting to make friends with each other.”
Speaking about getting on board with ICAN Learn as a Registered Training Organisation, social enterprise, Robyn said, “I’m really enjoying work with a team that understands our sector, the way we are delivering all over Australia has been a dream of mine and Bernadette for a very long time. It’s about putting students and the sector first;. We want the people coming out of our courses to be tomorrow’s sector leaders.”