The first day of class for Switch to Social Work program was marked with a hybrid celebration for participants across La Trobe’s Bundoora, Bendigo and Mildura campuses with welcomes from the Centre’s CEO Deb Tsorbaris and representatives from the Department of Families Fairness and Housing, La Trobe University and sector partners.
Switch to Social Work is a new pathway into social work combining study, training and paid work. The program has been designed by the Victorian Government and the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, with La Trobe University delivering a two-year Master of Social Work (Child and Family Practice).
The program offers an earn and learn model for people who already have a bachelor’s degree and is designed to alleviate financial barriers to career change and address identified workforce areas of need.
Ms Tsorbaris congratulated students and thanked all within Government and the sector who had worked together over the last five years to launch the innovative program.
“Today is a significant milestone in the careers of our participant and also a day for celebration for all the people behind the scenes who are all working towards supporting the future of child and family services in Victoria,” she said.
“These are undoubtedly challenging times for families throughout Victoria and nation-wide. The rising cost of living pressures, lack of affordable housing, the ongoing social and economic effects of COVID-19, increasingly severe weather events, and the sobering aftermath of the recent referendum have all had an impact on our children and families.
“Demand for child and family services are continuing to increase. Now, more than ever, we need a strong and highly capable workforce that’s able to adapt and grow with these challenges,” she said.
The program’s objective is to develop a highly skilled, diverse, and purpose-driven workforce tailored to the unique challenges of child and family services.
The Centre will support participants through its dedicated Concierge Support Service and provide guidance, offer industry connections through placements, manage internships, and provide updates on the latest news from the child and family services sector.