Scholarships grow well-being workforce in schools

A new scholarship program aims to increase the number of counsellors and psychologists working in our schools.

The NSW Government is continuing to prioritise the well-being of students by ensuring a strong pipeline of qualified mental health professionals in schools through a scholarship program for counsellors and psychologists.

The program will bring graduates into the growing school counselling service, and supports teachers to reskill as counsellors.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the program successfully awarded 78 scholarships this year alone - with another 80 now on offer.

“School counsellors and psychologists are so important for our communities, especially during challenging periods like the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We have committed to growing our school counselling service and thanks to scholarships like these we are on track to hire 160 graduates over the next two years. This is in addition to appointments made through our ongoing recruitment.

“The scholarships cover the cost of tuition fees up to $30,000, helping graduates and current staff bridge the cost barrier of studying. Recipients will also have a permanent job when they finish their studies.

“School psychologists and counsellors work collaboratively with families, teachers, school leaders and other professionals to create safe, healthy and supportive learning environments.

"This can have a massive positive impact for students and strengthen the connection between school, home and the community.”

There are three scholarships on offer: a training program for teachers to become a school counsellor; a program for psychology graduates to gain experience in schools; and a rural program for participants with an existing psychology qualification to work in rural and remote schools while completing their masters.

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the counselling and wellbeing service in schools was an important pillar of support for young people.

“Initiatives in schools, like specialised training for teachers and additional wellbeing professionals such as our Wellbeing and Health In-Reach Nurses, are helping young people find the support they need and connect with community support options,” Mrs Taylor said.

“This is particularly important in our regional areas which is why the new rural training pathway for school psychologists is such welcome news.”

The school counselling service across NSW public schools currently comprises 1,129 full time positions, with 97.7% of positions filled.

Up to 300 people will be trained to join the school counselling workforce through the scholarship program between 2020 and 2023.

Applications for the school counsellor scholarships now close on Sunday 8 August and school psychologist scholarships close on 10 October 2021. Find more information and application details.

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