Students @ the Centre

Students are among the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Many students have been transitioning to new forms of learning while others have been prevented from continuing or even starting their studies - “it feels like my life is on hold”.  While many students are quickly adapting to new learning approaches and environments, others face obstacles and barriers that require innovative solutions and significant support to overcome.

From the Director

In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, our conversations at RMIT were very much focused on the potential and real impacts of this global health crisis on our students - particularly international students. Plans were put into place to support those students who could no longer take up their place in our community of learners. In a matter of weeks, the rapid spread of coronavirus and the physical distancing measures put in place to ‘flatten the curve’ meant that all our students were directly, and dramatically impacted.  In this edition of FSSI Link, we share some examples of how we are working with our partner organisations to provide high quality learning experiences for our students at this challenging time.

Micaela Cronin
What are we seeing?

Blazing a trail
After a rocky start to their studies with the impact of Covid-19 delaying the commencement to the course, on Tuesday 28 April 2020, Minister Gayle Tierney officially launched our ‘Higher Apprenticeships’ project. One of two pilot schemes fully funded by the Victorian Government, the Higher Apprenticeships provides an upskilling pathway for workers while still embedded in their workplaces, developing their skills and knowledge to enable them to take on new challenges in their jobs and careers.  This pilot is being led by FSSI in partnership with RMIT’s School of Vocational Design and Social Context.
The first cohort of Higher Apprentices recently enthusiastically commenced their program, which includes formal training through the Advanced Diploma of Community Sector Management. As with all RMIT’s programs, the Advanced Diploma was rapidly moved online thanks to the creativity and hard work of a team of dedicated teachers.  This cohort – and the team teaching and supporting them – are true trailblazers, using a co-design approach to develop, test and refine a new educational model and career pathway for practitioners in Australia’s largest and fastest growing industry, the social service sector. Visit FSSI’s Higher Apprenticeships webpage to find out more.
What are we hearing?
"Be brave and say yes!"
In our latest vlog Micaela Cronin talks to RMIT’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Vocational Education Mish Eastman about her reflections on the importance of collaboration and how the experience of learning and connecting with others can have a transformative impact – for learners, their careers, their lives and on their communities.
As Mish reminds us “every person’s world is different” so we need to pause and think about the complexity of other people’s lives, particularly at this challenging time. Mish’s message for people contemplating their future – in particular those thinking about further study – is simple “just say yes!”

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What are we doing?

Data and insights to inform recovery

Charitable organisations form a large and critical part of the social service sector, providing vital services and supports to diverse communities across Victoria and Australia.  With reports that charitable giving could dramatically decrease in the face of the economic shocks caused by Covid-19, it is more important than ever to understand the important role that these organisations play in supporting our community.    
In Semester 1 2020, FSSI and VCOSS have commissioned students from the Master of Analytics Program in RMIT’s School of Mathematics and Geospatial Science to quantify the size and scope of charitable organisations in Victoria.  Building on VCOSS’s
A growing industry: A snapshot of Victoria’s community sector organisations, this Work Integrated Learning (WIL) project will explore data from the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission’s (ACNC) Annual Information Statements. 
Are you interested in a career in the social service sector? COTA Victoria is leading an innovative project to support jobseekers to re-skill and launch a new career in the aged care and disability sectors. 

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