Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Scholarship Program
*** APPLICATIONS HAVE NOW CLOSED ***
Applications for the upcoming program have now closed however we would like to encourage anyone interested in future opportunities to get in touch.
Are you an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) worker looking to upskill and/or gain tertiary qualifications in mental health?
Or do you want a career in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander SEWB and need to gain qualifications to work in the mental health sector? We’ve got for an opportunity for you!
VACCHO and the Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing (The Centre) are committed to ensuring that our Community can access culturally safe services and supports to help in their healing. A key initiative to achieve this is to grow the Aboriginal SEWB Workforce in Victoria. By growing the Aboriginal SEWB teams we can ensure that we have the best Community driven and delivered, culturally safe, health and wellbeing support for our people, by our people.
We are creating opportunities for professional growth and development through our Aboriginal SEWB Scholarship Program to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people obtain recognised qualifications from approved public tertiary providers.
Scholarships will be available for both clinical and therapeutic courses to ensure that SEWB teams can respond to the specific social and emotional wellbeing needs of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.
The program is designed to be flexible for scholarship recipients. Recipients can study full time, part time, on campus and/or online (subject to course requirements) to support those with work commitments (check eligibility criteria below).
- Orientation and pre-scholarship support: provided by the The Centre and tertiary providers
- Education: deliver relevant qualification by a registered tertiary provider
- Course placement: placements where possible, preferably in Aboriginal SEWB
- Employment: expectation of ongoing employment in an Aboriginal SEWB role following successful course completion
- Mentorship and Peer support: Students will have access to culturally safe supports offered by the universities and additional cultural support provided by the Centre
Following successful completion of your course, scholarship recipients may be offered ongoing employment or may consider pursuing higher qualifications through the Program. Individuals who have completed relevant undergraduate studies will be eligible for a selection of postgraduate scholarships.
What courses are available?
The Aboriginal SEWB Scholarship Program for semester 1, 2022, will be delivered in partnership with RMIT and Deakin University.
The program qualifications have been identified as disciplines that will support the state-wide expansion of Aboriginal SEWB teams and address identified workforce gaps in Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing.
Both clinical and therapeutic courses have been identified to ensure that SEWB teams are able to respond to the specific social and emotional wellbeing needs of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities. For example, there have been clear links acknowledged between mental health and alcohol and other drugs (AOD). Registered practitioners are also greatly under-represented in the workforce and Aboriginal SEWB teams.
There is also an opportunity for individuals with prior qualifications to be upskilled in higher qualifications where large shortages exist in the sector. For semester 1, 2022, the scholarship is available for the following qualifications:
Bachelor of Applied Science
Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)
Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology) (Honours)
Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
Bachelor of Youth Work and Youth Studies
Graduate Certificate in Domestic and Family Violence
Online Graduate Diploma in Psychology
Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing
Master of Mental Health Nursing
Master of Clinical Psychology
Master of Social Work
Bachelor of Psychological Science
Bachelor of Health Sciences (majoring in Psychological Science or Psychology for Allied Health)
Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion
Bachelor of Social Work
Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours)
Graduate Certificate of Counselling
Graduate Diploma of Counselling
Graduate Diploma of Psychological Science
Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Advanced)
Master of Psychology (Clinical)
Master of Professional Psychology
Note: if you are interested in a course not on this list however links to SEWB please reach out to The Centre’s Aboriginal Engagement Lead to discuss.
Scholarship Application Process
How to apply
Here are the steps you need to take to apply for the scholarship program:
- Read the FAQs
- Ensure you met the eligibility criteria for the course you wish to study (RMIT Courses here | Deakin University courses here) and the eligibility criteria for the scholarship program (detailed above)
- Provide a written response to the application questions
- Seek a written a support letter from your employer or a support letter from an Indigenous Community member (OPTIONAL)
- Attach all supporting documentation endorsing your application
- Complete and submit your scholarship application via the university website by 30th January 2022.
RMIT Online Application
Deakin University Online Application
|Applications promoted and open||December 2021|
30th January 2022
|Applicant yarns||7th and 8th February 2022|
|Applicants advised of scholarship outcome||11th February 2022|
Key Assessment Criteria
The following criteria will be considered in the assessment of your application:
- applicants employed in an Aboriginal SEWB role or employed by an ACCO
- consideration will be given to individuals who can demonstrate a clear intention and commitment to Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing
- rural/regional/remote applicants
- applicants that are currently enrolled in a course that is available through program
- applicants applying for a post-graduate degree must meet the eligibility criteria for the chosen course.
- applicants not receiving other funding support (for example, scholarships, grants or financial support from an organisation or institutions)
*Note: employers will be encouraged to manage employment commitments throughout the program and following successful completion of the scholarship program to support workforce retention and sustainability.
Once applications close, all applications will be reviewed based on eligibility and merit criteria (described above) by Aboriginal representatives from The Centre, the respective University and the Department of Health.
To ensure that applicants strengths are recognised, it is important that the selection process is not only based on an applicants written responses. Short-listed applicants will be invited to have a yarn in a culturally safe and comfortable environment. This is an opportunity for the applicant to discuss their passion for Aboriginal SEWB and their future career pathways that will inform the final decision to award a scholarship.
In February 2019, the Victorian Government authorised a Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System to report on improvements to the mental health system. The Commission delivered an Interim Report in November 2019 with nine broad recommendations to lay the foundation for future reform, including three specific recommendations for Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB).
The Commission’s recommendation for a statewide expansion of Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) teams will lead to increased demand for Aboriginal health professionals.
Although Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations (ACCHOs) can employ non-Aboriginal clinicians in the teams and can purchase clinical expertise from non-Aboriginal services, the Commission considers that building the Aboriginal workforce is integral to the success of social and emotional wellbeing services in the longer term.
Evidence suggests that Aboriginal health professionals apply unique technical and socio-cultural skills to improve client care while promoting self-determination for Community. In recognition of both the urgent need for reform and the need to take to a social and emotional wellbeing approach to mental health, the Commission’s Interim Report recommended a suite of reforms to support Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations to provide comprehensive care for Aboriginal people, their families and communities. A key workforce recommendation from the interim report includes scholarships to enable Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing team members to obtain recognised clinical mental health qualifications from approved public tertiary providers, with a minimum of 30 flexible scholarships awarded over the next five years.
The Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Scholarship Program is being delivered by VACCHO, the Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing and the Victorian Government’s Department of Health through their Mental Health and Wellbeing Division.
If you have a query or need more information about the Aboriginal SEWB Scholarship Program, email The Centre’s Aboriginal Engagement Lead below or by phone 03 9411 9411.