RMIT is hosting a new research and teaching institute that puts Victoria in the box seat ahead of significant change in the delivery of social service.
The Future Social Service Institute will be a collaboration between the Victorian Government, the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) and RMIT University.
The Government is providing $500,000 seed funding, to be matched by RMIT.
It is the first time a government, a tertiary institution and the social service sector have come together in this way to jointly tackle and embrace the challenges of social service reform.
Once operational, the Institute will:
- Design world-best education programs for the social service sector
- Help train the “workforce of the future”
- Research emerging trends and opportunities in social sector reform
- Empower not-for-profits to reorient to a global market
In making the announcement, the Victorian Minister for Housing, Ageing and Disability, Martin Foley, forecast economic and social dividends.
“With the impending introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, an ageing population and broader shifts in the delivery of social support, this institute will position Victoria to produce the world’s most highly-skilled support workers and carers.
“But the real winners will be those in need of support and assistance. They’ll be better able to pursue the lifestyle they value, with the backing of a highly skilled and growing workforce.”
RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, said RMIT had distinct strengths in its ability to work with community and global industry networks to drive employment and innovation outcomes.
“RMIT already equips students with the skills to work in the care professions. Our programs range from vocational education qualifications in individual support, and alcohol and other drugs, to bachelor degrees in social work, and masters degrees and beyond,” he said.
“We are delighted to host the institute and to make our contribution through the passion and commitment of our teachers and researchers.
“The mark of a decent society is the way in which we lighten the load of those who, through ageing or disability, cannot do it all by themselves.
“The mark of a decent society is the depth of our compassion, our sense of service and our care for others.
“I am confident that today’s announcement is confirmation that the government and people of Victoria are united in those values.”
VCOSS CEO Emma King said the institute would benefit from being firmly rooted in both the social service and tertiary sectors.
“The institute will engage in meaningful dialogue with social service organisations, existing support workers and care receivers, and partner with them to co-design the course curriculum.”
The institute will begin full operation in 2017 after a period of consultation and development with a cross-section of sector representatives.
Story: David Glanz