A NEW scholarship link between South West TAFE and the welfare profession is believed to be the first of its type in Victoria.
It will be an annual award providing a year’s full-time employment for two graduating students plus $2000 each to help with their final year of studies.
The inaugural Brophy Family and Youth Services scholarship was introduced by the agency to make it easier to enter the welfare profession and retain students in the south-west.
“We are confident other welfare sector organisations will come on board and also offer scholarships,” Brophy chief executive Francis Broekman said.
“I would think that this offer will lure students from Geelong, Ballarat and other areas to South West TAFE knowing there are opportunities for secure employment in the end.
“We see this as a way to directly support employment of young people in the industry.”
About 70 per cent of Brophy’s staff completed their welfare qualifications at the nearby South West TAFE, he said. The first scholarship winners announced yesterday are Skye Cashion, 24, and Daniel Sedgley, 21, who are completing their diploma of community service studies.
Both have family members already working in the sector and see long-term careers ahead of them.
“It was appealing to have a secure job at the end of my studies,” Ms Cashion said.
Mr Sedgley said the scholarship would allow him to concentrate on his course and placements this year rather than thinking about job applications.
“The guaranteed year’s work is just huge,” he said.
TAFE community services team leader Carol Cashion is Skye’s grandmother, but she did not participate in selection of the scholarship winners.
“An advantage of employing local graduates is their understanding of the social and welfare issues affecting the south-west,” Ms Cashion said.
“We value what Brophy has done and hope other organisations might come on board in the future.”
South West TAFE has been offering community service courses since the 1980s and this year has 33 first and second-year students in that faculty.