Category: News

Partnership boosts financial support for North Queenslanders

North Queenslanders are a step closer to accessing critical financial support, with seven successful scholarship applicants commencing their training to become qualified financial counsellors.

Seven fully paid scholarships have been made available as part of a new partnership agreement between Ergon Energy Retail, as part of Energy Queensland, Powerlink Queensland and ICAN Learn.

The $80,000 partnership offers fully paid financial counselling scholarships over a two-year period to be delivered by Cairns-based registered training organisation, ICAN Learn.

ICAN Learn Managing Director, Aaron Davis, said the seven successful applicants from Cooktown and Weipa, down to Bowen and west to Mt Isa, start face-to-face training in Cairns today.

“We’re pleased to see this regional response to the ongoing financial impacts of COVID-19 officially launching,” Mr Davis said. 

“For many communities and households around the state, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for a long time to come.

“Through the use of video conferencing technology, we’re hoping to reach communities that have limited access to these services.”

Energy Queensland CEO Rod Duke said it was important to support the community services sector, as they’re on the frontline assisting Queensland households. 

“We are committed to improving energy literacy for our customers across regional Queensland, which is why we are excited to support ICAN Learn in building the financial counselling capacity through our scholarship program,” Mr Duke said.

“Our aim is to ensure that even our most remote customers have access to the information and services they need.”

Powerlink Chief Executive Paul Simshauser said representatives from Ergon Energy Retail, Powerlink, ICAN Learn and Financial Counsellors’ Association of Queensland had completed a comprehensive selection process to cover key areas in need.

“As a result, this program will deliver fully qualified financial counsellors to regional areas across remote North Queensland who have never had access to these services previously,” Mr Simshauser said.

“We’re hearing from consumer advocates that families in regional areas in particular are struggling with pandemic impacts and need support.

“We’re very pleased to be able to support a program that will see that happen and deliver on our commitments as part of The Energy Charter.” 

The program commenced in August 2020 delivering energy literacy and efficiency learning webinars to help community organisations better help customers struggling to navigate electricity costs.

Just in case you missed it!

2020 has been another big year for ICAN and ICAN Learn! Our Annual Report video looks at our achievements this year and how we transformed our services during COVID to maintain our vision of Empowering Indigenous Consumers and developing the financial counselling and capability sectors.

To all of our readers – thank you for being a part of the ICAN/ICAN Learn journey in 2020, we look forward to sharing our journey with you again in 2021!

CBA partnership provides new Diploma opportunities for Indigenous Service Providers

ICAN’s long-standing partnership with CBA has facilitated the education of approximately 45 Indigenous Australians to become financial counsellors over the last 6 years. Many of these graduates are now in leadership and formative positions across the country.  

In 2017 ICAN Learn was formed to ensure that the empowerment of Indigenous people could continue by increasing the number of Indigenous financial counsellors across Australia through the Indigenous Financial Counselling Scholarship Program.  ICAN Learn and CBA partnering for this initiative has cemented our mentorship approach and allowed us to explore different training methods and opportunities.  

Every person who undertakes the Indigenous Financial Counselling Scholarship Program in 2021 will commence the program with the Financial Literacy Education Skillset [CHCSS00077], which is required to work in financial capability roles.  Fourteen Indigenous participants in the 2017 cohort gained this skillset before embarking on the Diploma of Financial Counselling.

CBA’s funding not only adds to the pool of new financial counsellors in places like Derby, Normanton, Cairns, Port Augusta and regional Victoria but also provides the opportunity to add financial literacy skills to people and organisations across Australia, an approach that could not occur in a fee for service environment.  Seizing the opportunity, ICAN Learn has increased employment opportunities for all participants, with graduates being able to be employed as both financial capability workers and financial counsellors.  

‘We had the opportunity, through our partnership with CBA to really make a difference’, said Bernadette Pasco, Business and Workforce Development Manager for ICAN and ICAN Learn. ‘We’ve been able to ensure that graduates could work across the financial wellbeing industry, and with CBA’s support, we have been able to make that possible.’

2021 will be no exception! CBA’s partnership with ICAN and ICAN Learn is taking new heights by reaching out to Indigenous service providers to take part in our scholarship program and make a difference in their organisations, and for the communities they serve.  

We’re focusing on service providers this time around,‘, said Bernadette, ‘that way the partnership provides opportunities for organisations to build expertise in financial capability and financial counselling to expand their service offerings.’  

ICAN Learn is taking expressions of interest now for the Indigenous Financial Counselling Scholarship Program in 2021! Email enquiries@icanlearn.edu.au and register your interest. Course commencement is late February 2021.  

Watch our full ‘Empowering Community Services’ webinar series here

ICAN Learn has uploaded its three-part Ergon Retail and Powerlink Queensland sponsored ‘Empowering Community Services’ webinar series and is about to embark on the partnerships Diploma of Financial Counselling Scholarship Program in early November. If you missed any of the three-part webinar series, you can watch them all here. The series has a focus on the professional development of Queensland’s regional community services, so they can best support their clients in financial hardship and advocate for their energy needs.

Webinar 1 – Introducing the Ergon/Powerlink Diploma of Financial Counselling scholarship program 

Webinar 2 – Energy Savings and Hardship Strategies, an Interview and Q&A with Chris Samuelsson, Vulnerable Customer Manager, Ergon Energy Retail. The second webinar in the three part “Empowering Community Services” webinar series.

Webinar 3 – Energy Consumer with the Energy and Water Ombudsman of Queensland (EWOQ), an Interview and Q&A with Jane Pires, Energy and Water Ombudsman of Queensland (EWOQ) and Lucy Core, Investigation and Conciliation Officer (EWOQ), in the final webinar of the three part “Empowering Community Services” webinar series.

Register now for our latest Ergon/Powerlink webinars

Don’t miss these fantastic Professional Development opportunities!

Are you a Community Service Provider or Financial Counsellor in Queensland, whose clients present with energy hardship issues?

Then you need to register now for our Professional Development Webinars!

When you Register for Webinars 2 and 3 of our ‘Empowering Community Services’ series, you will learn how to:

✅ support your clients dealing with financial hardship
✅ navigate financial hardship supports available from Ergon Energy Retail
✅ advocate for your client’s energy issues
✅ give tips for managing energy usage and energy costs

Our live interviews with Queensland Energy Leaders will also include Q&A sessions at the end of each webinar where you get to ask the questions via chat!

Don’t miss out on these fantastic professional development opportunities!

👉 Register here for Webinar 2 – Energy Savings and Hardship Strategies with Ergon, to hear from Christine Samuelsson, Ergon Energy Retail’s Vulnerable Customer Manager

👉 Register here for Webinar 3 – Energy Consumer with the Energy and Water Ombudsman of Queensland (EWOQ), Jane Pires 

Meet our new RTO Manager, Rebecca Richards

Welcome to ICAN Learn, Rebecca!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, and how you came to join ICAN Learn?

I’m originally from Brisbane and moved to Cairns 6 years ago as I love the relaxed lifestyle up here.  I have 12 years’ experience working in the training industry, in registered training organisations and also corporate organisations.  I started with ICAN Learn 5 months ago when I saw an opportunity had opened up to join the team and haven’t looked back!

What does a day in the life of an RTO Manager bring?

It is rewarding but also challenging work when dealing with compliance on a daily basis.  I enjoy the interaction with the students and being able to follow their learning journey. 

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Working with an awesome team! I love coming to the office every day and working with our dedicated ICAN Learn teaching and administration staff to support the learning of our students and seeing them become qualified financial counsellors.

COVID-19 has changed all of our lives; how has the pandemic changed the learning environment?

We have had to alter the way we deliver our training to ensure our students’ learning is not delayed due to the unexpected changes of COVID-19.  We offer smaller and more regular group online Zoom classes and our teachers work very closely with our students to provide individual and group support.  Our students have risen to the challenge of moving to online learning and like the fact they can still engage with our teachers and interact with other students in the classes. 

What’s on your wish list for the next 12 months?

To be able to travel the country freely when COVID-19 restrictions have lifted and meet the rest of our staff face-to-face, some of whom are experiencing the challenges of working and living in lockdown.

I am also excited about working with our team to grow ICAN Learn as we continue to provide high quality, industry focussed training to our students and the financial counselling sector.

Where are we likely to find you when the weekend hits?

Spending time with my husband and our dog – you’ll normally find us out four-wheel-driving, camping and exploring beautiful Far North Queensland! 

Just in case you missed it!

Webinar 1 – Introducing the Ergon/Powerlink Diploma of Financial Counselling Scholarship Program

If you live in Regional Queensland and are interested in becoming a financial counsellor, please check out Webinar 1 ‘Introducing the Ergon/Powerlink Diploma of Financial Counselling Scholarship Program’. As discussed in the webinar, you can now access application information and forms here , applications close Friday 11 September.

You can also register for the following two webinars in the Ergon/Powerlink sponsored ‘Empowering Community Services’ series. please got to the following links, Register here: Webinar 2 – Energy Savings and Hardship Strategies with Ergon and Register here: Webinar 3 – Energy Consumer with the Energy and Water Ombudsman of Queensland (EWOQ).

Powerful partnership to help regional Queenslanders

Access the Scholarship application forms here

Regional Queenslanders will have greater access to financial support to help respond to COVID-19 impacts with a new partnership agreement between Ergon Energy Retail, as part of Energy Queensland, Powerlink Queensland and ICAN Learn.

The $80,000 partnership program will offer seven fully paid financial counselling scholarships over a two-year period to be delivered by Cairns-based registered training organisation, ICAN Learn.  

The program will also deliver energy literacy and efficiency learning webinars to help community organisations better help customers struggling to navigate electricity costs.

ICAN Learn CEO Aaron Davis said for many communities and households around the state, the impacts of the pandemic would be felt for a long time to come.

“We’re pleased to be involved in this regional response to the ongoing financial impacts of COVID-19. When government, industry and the community sectors work together, we can maximise impact. Through the use of video conferencing technology, we’re hoping to reach communities that have limited access to services,” Mr Davis said. 

Energy Queensland CEO Rod Duke said it was important to support the community services sector, as they’re on the frontline assisting Queensland households. 

“We are committed to improving energy literacy for our customers across regional Queensland, which is why we are excited to support ICAN Learn in building the financial counselling capacity through our scholarship program. 

“Our aim is to ensure that even our most remote customers have access to the information and services they need,” Mr Duke said.

Powerlink Chief Executive Paul Simshauser said an important part of the process was seeking advice from key consumer groups on what support could be offered to customers in financial crisis because of the pandemic.  

“Their overwhelming feedback was that the most difficult part for a lot of families was still to come, so getting more trained people on the ground to provide support was critical,” Mr Simshauser said. 

“We’re so pleased to be delivering this program in partnership with Ergon Energy Retail and ICAN Learn, and in regional areas across Queensland.”

Applications open on August 10, with a webinar held on August 12 to outline further details of the scholarships and what’s involved for those interested.

A selection panel of Ergon Energy Retail, Powerlink Queensland, ICAN Learn and Financial Counsellors’ Association of Queensland will consider applications in October, with scholarships kick starting in mid-November. 

CBA Indigenous and Multicultural Scholarship Applications are now open!

ICAN Learn would like to thank the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA) ongoing commitment and continued partnership with ICAN to support diversity, by building the representation of Indigenous and Multicultural financial counsellors within the broader financial counselling sector.

The three-year CBA sponsorship agreement will see two place-based Diploma of Financial Counselling Scholarship programs delivered, commencing in February 2021.

This is a fantastic opportunity to receive a free diploma qualification worth $8,000 in a supported learning environment.

There are 14 Indigenous and up to 24 Multicultural scholarships on offer so be quick!

For more information please contact enquiries@icanlearn.edu.au

Leadership Change for ICAN Learn

Sadly we advise that Bernadette Pasco has resigned from the role of Executive Officer at ICAN Learn to commence the next exciting chapter in her career.

Bernadette’s contribution to the establishment and growth of ICAN’s social enterprise, ICAN Learn, has made it the successful Registered Training Organisation that it is today. 

Bernadette has led a dedicated team of qualified teachers and experienced compliance and co-ordination staff, who all play an integral role in delivering high quality training to both our students and the Financial Counselling sector.  From humble beginnings as a ‘start up’, to becoming the leading provider of the Diploma of Financial Counselling nationally, Bernadette leaves ICAN Learn knowing she has contributed to growing the Financial Counselling and Capability workforce, which is particularly critical in the current COVID-19 environment.

Bernadette leaves ICAN Learn in a very strong position, and we thank her for her expertise, passion, and tireless work in developing the Financial Counselling and Capability Sectors.  She will be missed by us all.

The ICAN Board has appointed Director Bob Frazer as the Acting Executive Officer of ICAN Learn during the leadership transition, ensuring business continuity until a new permanent Executive Officer is appointed.

If you have any questions about the changes at ICAN Learn, please feel free to contact Bob Frazer at bob.frazer@ican.org.au.

For student or course enquiries, please contact administration@icanlearn.edu.au.