The institute is set up to drive first-class education, training and research across the social sector, and prepare Victoria for the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. That scheme will deliver further comprehensive changes in how social services are funded and provided, and promises major job growth in the social services workforce.
The institute represents an investment of $2.1 million and aims to help the social services sector in a number of ways. They include:
- Offering two Industry Research Fellowships and two PhD scholarships for the social and community sector
- Developing best practice standards and innovative means of delivery following investigation of the contemporary experiences of the users of Victoria's social services
- Promoting social services as an enriching career path
- Empowering not-for-profits to reorientate for a global market
Emma King, VCOSS CEO, said that the new institute would capitalise on global trends.
"A tidal wave of change is about to hit the social services sector," King said.
"The Future Social Service Institute will develop innovative ways of providing services to those in our community who need them most.
"If we get this right, Victoria will set the standard for the rest of the world."
King's confidence was echoed by RMIT vice-chancellor and president, Martin Bean CBE. He said, "RMIT doesn’t just equip social service students with the knowledge and skills needed by the sector, the university’s research also supports the development of creative solutions to complex social issues.
"The Future Social Service Institute brings these strengths together, ensuring our students are ideally placed to work effectively in this rapidly-changing sector and our research continues to make an impact."
The institute will commence its operations next year.
The Victoria state government has announced the Future Social Services Institute, a new investment in the future of social services in collaboration with RMIT University and the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS).