What’s happening

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Disability workers’ pay, training and conditions behind the timesPicture of boy and carers

Out-of-date training, poor conditions and low pay are holding Australia back from delivering the high-quality disability services people deserve, Future Social Service Institute Director David Hayward has told a federal inquiry.

Presenting to the Joint Standing Committee inquiry into the market-readiness of NDIS services, Professor Hayward said while Australia is moving forward with the NDIS, recognition of the importance of its workforce is lagging way behind.

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Executive Masterclass 2018

Congratulations to the latest graduates of the FSSI Executive Masterclass.

This year’s program followed the highly successful formula of participants co-designing course content. Hot topics included social innovation, measuring social outcomes, influencing government and inspiring leadership.

Read more about our Masters’ experience.

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May 2018

VCOSS Budget Breakfast with the Treasurer

FSSI Director David Hayward was part of the guest panel at VCOSS’ Budget Breakfast with Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas, advocating strongly for the social service workforce to be better recognised for the valuable contribution it makes to the community and the economy. You can view VCOSS’ recording of the Treasurer’s address here, with David Hayward and the guest panel joining VCOSS CEO Emma King on stage at the

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Who cares? Who pays? – Free event

Thu 10 May 2018
1:00pm – 3:00pm 
RMIT University Storey Hall
Free event

Victoria’s local government provided Home and Community Care service has been in operation for over 40 years. Ongoing policy reforms have left the sector with an increasingly uncertain future, despite the growing need for such services.

The workforce, both formal and informal, is overwhelmingly made up of women. As a result policy failure in this space has significant implications for the gender pay gap, women’s employment participation and the capacity for both men and women to balance work and family life.

This workshop will outline some of the history of the current HACC system, the potential impacts of major policy reform and the implications for the broader Victorian workforce.

Speakers include:

  • Professor Sara Charlesworth, RMIT University – keynote
  • Ronda Held, CEO, Council on the Ageing (Victoria)
  • Lisa Darmanin, Executive President of the Australian Services Union (Vic and Tas Branch)
  • Merle Mitchell, advocate and community worker
  • Nicole Marshall, local government councillor.

green button saying register now

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April 2018

Disability workers – have your say

What is your NDIS experience? Let the Victorian Government know what matters most to you about your work. Take part in this survey to influence government policy and shape the conditions you work in.

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 April 2018

Congratulations to our Certificate IV in Disability graduates

cert 4 graduates 2018

On Friday 6 April, we celebrated the achievements of an amazing bunch of community sector workers for completing the Certificate IV in Disability with the Future Social Service Institute’s scholarship program.

Students used job specific training and education to build on their existing skills and knowledge, focusing on the provision of services to people who have a disability.

These graduates are now ready to forge a career in the social service workforce—congratulations!

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April 2018

Budget explainer

FSSI Director Professor David Hayward to star in a VCOSS video series helping to demystify the budget process for community sector organisations.

You can view the videos on the VCOSS website.

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Mar 2018

Cert III and Cert IV Scholarships

Picture of students learning in 2017 Cert III scholarship class.We are committed to designing world-best education programs for the social service sector and helping to train the ‘workforce of the future’.

One way we’re doing this is through offering full scholarships to:

  • high school leavers/graduates who want to work in the social services sector
  • employers looking to upskill their employees in preparation for the NDIS.

Applications for 2018 scholarships are now open.

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Mar 2018

PhD Scholarship: Applications now open

Applications are invited from suitably qualified applicants for a PhD scholarship to undertake a higher degree by research through Professor Sara Charlesworth and Dr Fiona Macdonald at the Centre for People, Organisation and Work at RMIT University.

The Work of Social Care research program, which Prof Charlesworth and Dr Macdonald lead, is located in the Centre for People, Organisation and Work in the College of Business. The successful applicant would join the PhD program within the School of Management. The scholar will also be one of a team of PhD scholars supported by the Future Social Service Institute.

Applications close Friday 8 June.

Click here for more information.

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March 2018

Market Readiness

New qualifications, a diverse range of workers and increased pay are just some of the measures needed for an NDIS workforce that’s ‘market-ready’ (i.e. ready to meet the needs of people with disability). Read our submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS here.

Word Accessible Version

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March 2018

A Moving Celebration

FSSI thought it was time for a ‘Moving Celebration’ this month, to mark the move to our excellent new offices at RMIT. Gathering together many of the great people whom we’ve worked with so far from across RMIT, VCOSS, the community sector and Victorian Government, it was a great chance to reflect on what we’ve achieved so far and what is yet to come. And there was a quiz! Check out some pics from the evening here.

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January 2018

Future of Work Submission

Our recent submission to the Senate Select Committee on Submissionthe Future of Work and Workers Inquiry, Building Australia’s future social service workforce, hit home on a few key points. Namely that the social service workforce is the workforce of the future, and that to foster it to meet the rapidly growing demand it faces, Australia needs serious policy shifts that bring it better training, better pay, greater diversity and greater recognition. You can read the full submission here.

Word Accessible version 

Australia’s future social service workforce needs: 👩‍🎓Greater training 🌏Greater diversity 💲Greater pay 👏🏽Greater recognition.

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January 2017

FSSI on the move

Director of Science Gallery Melbourne Rose Hiscock, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, RMIT University Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean and University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis at the launch of the Melbourne Innovation Districts.
Director of Science Gallery Melbourne Rose Hiscock, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, RMIT University Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean and University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis at the launch of the Melbourne Innovation Districts.

FSSI is on the move in more ways than one in 2018. After a fabulous 18 months sharing offices with one of our co-founders, VCOSS, we have moved offices to a new home in the heart of our other co-founder, RMIT University.

The move brings us together with several exciting organisations in the new Melbourne Innovation Districts,  a hub where researchers, students, business and community organisations can connect and collaborate, driving innovative ideas to keep our society thriving.

FSSI Director David Hayward says it is an exciting move, with the district perfect for FSSI to keep working toward its vision of a strong Victoria supported by an innovative social service sector.

Read more…

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Dec 2017

Our 2017 Cert III graduates

The Class of 2017

FSSI’s inaugural Cert III Scholarship students gathered together in December to mark their achievements and reflect on the opportunities they now have before them in Australia’s fastest growing jobs sector, the social service workforce.

Our students are now equipped to take on a range of rewarding roles. Many spoke of how the course had opened up new pathways for them, helped them change careers, or reinforced their dream of working to support people to live full and rewarding lives.
Read more…

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Sep 2017

2018 Masterclass and scholarships open

2017 Masterclass Program participantsAfter a great year in 2017, FSSI is pleased to open its applications for the 2018 MasterclassSector Scholarships (Cert IV) and Student Scholarships (Cert III).

Whether you are at the executive level, directly delivering support services, or wishing to enter the social service sector, there is a course here for you.

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Sep 2017

Proud to support the ‘yes’ campaign

Everyone deserves equal rights, including the right to marry who they choose.

The Future Social Service Institute is committed to a “strong, vibrant, diverse” community and with this in mind, we are proud to support the ‘yes’ campaign for marriage equality in Australia.

We work towards an Australia where every person is included and supported. This means all relationships should be treated equally, no matter how people identify, or who they love.

VCOSS and RMIT are also both proud supporters of the ‘Vote Yes’ campaign.

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Aug 2017

Learning from the UK for a stronger NDIS

Lessons Australia can learn from the UK as it rolls out the landmark National Disability Insurance Scheme have been brought to the fore this month by international visiting Fellow Dr Shereen Hussein.

Visiting Melbourne in a fellowship hosted by the Future Social Service Institute (FSSI) and RMIT University, Dr Hussein, from King’s College London, has discussed the UK’s experience of moving to a market-based model of care.

A series of lectures and presentations, as well as media interviews and briefings  have been part of the two-week visit.

Drawing on experiences and studies not only from the UK, but across Europe, Dr Hussein has highlighted several key issues for Australia to consider.

These include the importance of safeguards to ensure people with disability receive quality care in a market environment, growing and training the workforce to keep up with a huge increase in projected demand, and ensuring there are minimum training and qualification standards in place for people providing services.

Other issues relevant for Australia include ensuring integrated services are available for regional and remote and culturally diverse communities, and considering the role of the State and not-for-profit operators in a market system.

Australia’s Federal Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Jenny Macklin requested a briefing with Dr Hussein to learn more from the UK experience.

“We had a great discussion of some of the issues the UK and other countries have faced, and the lessons Australia can draw from these to ensure the quality, safety and availability of its services for people with disability,” Dr Hussein said.

“The UK has found it is so important for government to take steps to grow its workforce and ensure services remain high-quality, and available to all those who need them.

“Minimum required qualifications must be considered, as must the needs of people living in remote areas, or people with specific cultural needs. It’s also important to ensure people’s whole wellbeing is catered for in a market-based system and that services are integrated across a range of areas, including employment, health and wellbeing.”

FSSI Acting Director David Hayward said it was invaluable for Australia to hear lessons from the UK as it embarks on rolling out the NDIS.

“Australia is more isolated than we sometimes realise, which makes it especially important to hear of the experiences from other countries that have been down a similar path with a market-based disability services system,” Prof. Hayward said.

“The Future Social Service Institute and RMIT have been delighted to bring Dr Hussein to Australia to share her expertise. The studies and insights Dr Hussein has been able to share from the UK, Northern Ireland, Scandinavian and other EU countries have been invaluable for people here in Australia closely involved in rolling out the NDIS.

“It’s been a fantastic opportunity to take a step back and think about some of the key issues we need to make sure we get right in Australia, if we are to deliver a high-quality system and a well-trained, highly valued NDIS workforce.”

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Jul 2017

Dr Shereen Hussein – International Visiting Fellow

Image of Dr Shereen Hussein
Dr Shereen Hussein

Dr Shereen Hussein BSc, MSc (LSHTM), PhD (LSE), Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London will join FSSI as an international visiting fellow from 22 August to 1 September.

Dr Hussein is a demographer with expertise in labour-migration, sociology and economics. Her main research revolves around ageing, family dynamics, migration and long term care. Current and recent projects include migrant workers and global care; transnational social work; diversity, structure and wage differentials in the long term care sector; national evaluations of new models of working; and the interactions between organisational and personal factors on job satisfaction, burnout and retention.

The Institute is providing a range of opportunities for social service sector  staff and representatives to meet with Dr Hussein. Click here to see what’s on. You can also follow @DrShereeHussein on Twitter and read more about her research and work here.

The Future Social Service Institute acknowledges the RMIT Philanthropic Fund and the International Visiting Fellowship in making Dr Shereen Hussein’s visit possible.

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May 2017

Executive Masterclass 2017

image of thriving green plantOur Executive Masterclass Program started on Friday 19 May. Held over four 1/2 day sessions, this program will support executives and senior managers in not-for-profit community sector organisations adapt to the changing environment and learn new skills to benefit their organisations.

The remaining sessions are 14 July and 4 August.

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Oct 2016

Funding boost announced

Minister Foley making funding announcement
Victoria’s Housing, Disability and Ageing Minister, Martin Foley

Building on seed funding provided in June 2016, the Victorian Government has announced an additional investment of $2.1m to support the Institute to:

OFFER two Industry Research Fellow and two PhD Scholarships aimed at the social and community sector.

INVESTIGATE the contemporary experiences of social service users and develop best practice standards and innovative means of delivery.

PROMOTE social support as a valuable and rewarding career.

EMPOWER not-for-profits to reorient to a global market.

The funding was announced by Victoria’s Housing, Disability and Ageing Minister, Martin Foley on 20 October 2016 during the launch of Keeping our Sector Strong, a $26 million investment in disability workforce by the Victorian Government.