Posted on 30 June, 2016

Diploma in Community Service (Financial Counselling) Part 1 New Journeys & New Knowledge

Written by Patrick Heenan

My studies in the Diploma of Community Services (Financial Counselling) was the beginning of a new professional and personal learning journey for me. Well what a journey it has been for myself and everyone to have completed the Mentorship Program with ICAN.

Our Journey began on the 14th of July 2015 in beautiful Cairns just 10 minutes from the City. We all came from different parts of Australia and even the remote parts as well, such as Amata in the APY Lands and Mornington Island in Far North Queensland.

As we all gathered for the first day of Block 1 it was more about getting to know each other. It almost reminded me as if we were gathering for a huge Ceremony to take place. Being in a class with 17 other blackfullas it did not take long for us to start building a good relationship amongst each other.

Having completed Block 1 we all travelled back home to get back into our normal jobs. When it was time to travel back to Cairns for Blocks 2 & 3 we noticed that it was the time that we would be getting to know the role of a Financial Counsellor.

As block 2 & 3 commenced we had to do assessments relating to identifying and applying technical information to assist clients with financial issues, facilitate the financial counselling process, develop and use financial counselling tools and techniques, advocate for clientsanduse relevant legislation in response to client needs.

The assessments were hard but I tried my hardest to relate everything that I was doing at my workplace back to my assessments which helped me a lot. Also the other students and I assisted each other through the blocks which also helped in many ways because we got to give each other different ideas.

On my return back to Darwin I still had a few assessments outstanding that needed to be completed and uploaded for marking. I found it quite hard to juggle work commitments and study at the same time but it helped when I was able to get in touch with my teachers and get some assistance over the phone and by email.

I was than able to complete a few more assessments and upload them onto the blackboard for marking which took a bit of weight off my shoulders. At times I felt like giving up but I kept reminding myself of how beneficial the diploma would be in the near future.

Having a positive mindset and staying focused gave me a lot of strength and courage and by the time it was ready to travel back to Cairns for blocks 4 & 5 I was feeling ready to take on the challenge again. This beginning phase of the learning journey inspired me to step up to more challenges both in the course, my job and personally – watch out for the next part of my journey.

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