Class of 2018 overcomes adversity

Homelessness, hearing impairment, and cultural differences were just some of the barriers overcome by Future Social Service Institute (FSSI) students who successfully completed certificate courses in aged care and disability this year.

A graduation ceremony on Monday evening celebrated the achievements of the students who completed FSSI’s Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability and Ageing) or the Certificate IV Disability.

FSSI Teacher Michelle McCann said she could see the impact of the course on the students. ‘It’s lovely to see the change in their confidence – a lot of them have got jobs already so they are really happy.’

Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) CEO Emma King, who presented the students with their certificates, told them, ‘it’s such a huge achievement.

‘You now have the opportunity to work in the areas that are in the boom sectors in the economy.’

The event was filled with great stories of challenges overcome by students, like Anne Donovan, 55, who was born with 90 per cent hearing loss, and enrolled as the first step towards a career change.

‘I wanted to work with like-minded people who were caring and passionate about making world a better, fairer, kinder place. The kind of work where you get to experience the best of humanity,’ Anne said.

‘I found the course at RMIT inspiring. Intellectually stimulating with a strong practical focus on the safe use of equipment and the care of our clients.’

The work placements were ‘an eyeopener – they taught me so much’, Anne said.

Having settled on the area she was keen to pursue, Anne learned she would need a further qualification. RMIT, VCOSS and FSSI then offered her a scholarship to complete that training course next year, which will enable Anne to secure her ‘dream job’.

Yasmin, a 21-year-old Liberian woman, said the Certificate III was ‘very challenging and helpful…The experience in a placement has helped me to have a better understanding in the aged care and disability sector.

‘Thanks to my teachers and their support, I was able to successfully complete the course and get a job in the disability sector. I would like to thank FSSI, RMIT and VCOSS for making this possible and giving us this opportunity.’

FSSI Director Prof David Hayward said the course’s high success rate of over 80 per cent was impressive and the course was continuing to evolve.

David said he anticipated more the course recruiting more students with different abilities.

‘We may have people with acquired brain injuries, people who have cerebral palsy… I am hoping we may one day have teachers who are nursing home residents. The idea is that one day you will learn through the classroom —not just through what you are reading or what your teachers are telling you.’

Click here for more information on FSSI’s courses.