The Victorian Government is investing in the future of social services, with new funding to support a leading research and teaching institute at RMIT University.
The Future Social Service Institute is a collaboration between the Victorian Government, the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) and RMIT.
The Institute will drive nation-leading education, training and research in the social sector, and prepare Victoria for the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, broader changes in the way social services are funded and delivered, and significant growth in the social services workforce.
Building on seed funding provided by the Victorian Government in June, this additional investment of $2.1m will support the Institute to:
- offer two Industry Research Fellowships 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.
Victoria’s Housing, Disability and Ageing Minister, Martin Foley, described the NDIS as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to transform the lives of Victorians with disability, their families and carers.
“This plan is about getting the disability workforce ready for the NDIS and laying the foundations needed to build the workforce of the future,” he said.
VCOSS CEO Emma King said with the support and input of Victoria’s community sector, the Institute would capitalise on global trends.
“A tidal wave of change is about to hit the social services sector,” she said.
“The Future Social Service Institute will develop innovative ways of providing services to those in our community who need them most.
“If we get this right, Victoria will set the standard for the rest of the world.”
RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, said the University was proud to help lead Victoria’s innovative response to the social service sector’s biggest challenges, drawing on its experience of collaborating with local and global industry networks to drive employment and innovation outcomes.
“RMIT doesn’t just equip social service students with the knowledge and skills needed by the sector, the University’s research also supports the development of creative solutions to complex social issues,” Martin said.
“The Future Social Service Institute brings these strengths together, ensuring our students are ideally placed to work effectively in this rapidly-changing sector and our research continues to make an impact.”
The Institute will begin full operation in 2017.
Story: Gosia Kaszubska