Transurban Scholarships: Breaking Barriers, Building Futures

This month we’re fortunate to have ICAN Learn Trainer, Lisa Simpson, yarn with us about her latest career move, and the transformative impact of the ICAN Learn/Transurban First Nations Scholarships.

Congratulations on your new part time role with ICAN Learn Lisa! What motivated you to transition from casual trainer to a part-time Trainer and Assessor?

I’ve worked for ICAN Learn as a casual trainer since 2020 and absolutely love training the skillset CHCSS00077 Financial Literacy Education.  It’s been great to see how ICAN Learn has really grown and expanded over the last few years, and I truly believe that we stand out since all our trainers are actually experienced Financial Counsellors and understand the environment that the students will be moving into. We’ve sat there with our worried clients, helped them along the way to a better understanding of their position, and changed their worries to hope.  Really, it’s an honour, and a humbling experience to be allowed into someone’s world and watch them shift from anxiety to optimism.

When I did that TAE course back in 2015, I never thought I would use it or need it, and didn’t see ‘adult education’ as my thing.  Which on reflection is funny since I loved community education with all ages, from young people to seniors.  Life takes interesting turns, and this is also one of those ‘seasons of life’ decisions, which allows me greater flexibility in working remotely and being able to see my family much more. (I’m going to be a Nonna again !!)

You have an impressive background in both Financial Counselling and Financial Capability, will you be teaching a variety of courses?

That’s very kind of you to say and – yes –  I’ll be teaching a variety of courses but (just between us 😊 ) the CHCSS00077 Financial Literacy Education course is a favourite! Especially since this course is so relevant to many other workplaces, and not just for people who are working in the Financial Counselling/Capability sector.

It’s exciting to be part of raising up the next generation of financial counsellors and financial capability workers.  It’s very satisfying when you attend a conference or networking event and meet some of the students who are now ‘out there’ doing the work.  I wonder how many students I’ve already taught over the last 4 years!!??

I have such a huge respect for those working as financial counsellors since I know the pressures and complexities that come with that role.  For many years I felt like I was the ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ and really wanted to be building safety rails at the top of the cliff to stop people from falling over. 

Why is financial literacy education so important for people to develop in their personal or professional lives?

I think that being in a strong and secure financial position truly impacts every area of our lives, emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.   We ‘don’t know what we don’t know’ and so many people are making decisions without understanding the consequences of those decisions and the impacts it can have on their future, and even their children’s future.   How many of us look back and wish we had done things differently.  Well, in Financial Literacy, we can definitely help people avoid mistakes, and make better informed decisions.  In every single student group I’ve taught, there’s always been that student that maybe is doing the course for work reasons, or career progression, but then admits how much it has helped them personally, and challenged them to review their own finances.

ICAN Learn and Transurban are currently offering Financial Literacy Education Skillset CHCSS00077 Scholarships for First Nations peoples. What impact do you think this course could have on the lives of successful applicants?

Absolutely positive impact.  As you know, I like the principle of making a one degree of difference in somebody’s life.  Any changes in thinking, behaviour and practice that lead people to be wiser, more aware, and more in control of their own finances can only be a good thing.  And it impacts the next generation.  Our children learn from what they see and hear us doing, and if we are modelling a secure and productive financial position, they will follow in those footsteps. This course can be completed live online from just about anywhere in Australia, so if someone has an opportunity to apply for a scholarship, I would say ‘Just Do It’.

What can people expect when from the online classes?

Students can expect to learn a lot. They will be challenged to see things from other people’s perspectives, and also challenged to look at their own behaviour and how they can improve their (financial) position.  They will meet other fabulous fellow students, who become fellow colleagues, and people that they can refer to or network with, in the future.  They can expect to share their own learning and experiences and contribute to discussions on a varied and wide range of issues.  They can also often teach us, the trainers, something new, or provide information that we may not have been aware of.

Many students are often nervous about being back in school or university, especially if it’s been a little while since they’ve completed any formal education.  It’s ok to be slightly nervous at the beginning, but what I can say without any doubt is that ICAN Lean will help and support you every step of the way.

What sort of career possibilities can the Transurban scholarships unlock for First Nations peoples interested in a career in financial wellbeing?

Honestly, I think the skillset CHCSS00077 Financia Literacy Education can help people from so many career different pathways, including financial capability workers. I’ve recently spoken to people from diverse fields, from aged care and disability support to social work, financial planning, and even funeral services. The common thread is financial literacy knowledge is needed across every sector and industry.  So many people are working with vulnerable clients, and vulnerable clients often have financial vulnerabilities they need help with. People don’t need to know everything, but being able to provide the right information and referral path can make a huge difference in their practice.  Of course, I also wish that every financial counselling service had a financial capability worker sitting alongside that can continue to coach people to making better decisions to improve their financial positions. That’s the dream!

Find out more about the Transurban Scholarships here

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