UNE Scholarship


Growing Potential Limited and the University of New England have recently announced the innaugural winner of the Indigenous Scholarship for the UNE Graduate Certificate NDIS Business Development.

The Scholarship recipient for 2018 is Carroll Towney from Galambila Aboriginal Health Service in Coffs Harbour. Carroll is the first of 4 scholarship holders that will be announced annually until 2021. UNE and Growing Potential are looking forward to working with Carroll through her scholarship journey.

What are these Scholarships About

These scholarships are delivered through an exciting partnership between Growing Potential Limited and the University of New England (UNE). They provide an annual supported scholarship pathway for Aboriginal people in the UNE Graduate Certificate NDIS Business Development program.

This exciting initiative represents the culmination of several months of planning collaboration between Growing Potential Ltd and UNE, to identify ways in which we could develop opportunities and pathways for Aboriginal people to undertake this exciting Graduate Certificate program. A program that that has been co-designed through a unique partnership between UNE and disability sector leaders.

The Context

The provision of quality culturally responsive disability services to support the needs of Aboriginal families and communities has always been an area of significant challenge for service providers and communities alike. As a consequence, Aboriginal people have traditionally been significantly underrepresented in rates of formal disability service access.

The available literature regarding Aboriginal disability make for some alarming reading. We are basically looking at a perfect storm in the communities of some of the nation’s most vulnerable people. We know that Aboriginal families continue to experience disability at significantly higher rates than non-Aboriginal families. We know that Aboriginal communities continue to experience sustained rates of population growth that far exceed those of non-Aboriginal communities. We also know that Aboriginal families and communities have traditionally not felt enfranchised and comfortable to access the formal disability support system. If you consider this in light of the opportunities that exist to address these realties through the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), this scholarship represents an investment by the partner organisations to build the capacity of the disability sector to support the needs of Aboriginal people with disability.

The implementation of the NDIS has provided governments, service providers and communities with a unique opportunity to take a fresh look the ways in which we approach disability service provision for Aboriginal people with disability and their families. It has created an environment where innovation is essential for the disability sector to evolve to better meet the needs of Aboriginal people with disability. This partnership embodies these opportunities and goals. It reflects a cross-sector collaboration between partner organisations based on a shared commitment to providing educational opportunities for Aboriginal people and supporting the building of cultural capacity within the disability sector.

The Scholarship

This partnership will see the development of supported scholarship pathways for 4 Aboriginal people to enter the UNE Graduate Certificate – NDIS Business Development Program. The scholarships will support 1 scholarship annually until 2021.

Each scholarship recipient will receive a range of opportunities to support them in their scholarship journey. These include:

  • Payment of all tuition fees;
  • Tutoring and student supports provided by the Oorala Aboriginal Learning Centre;
  • Executive mentoring and coaching provided by Growing Potential;
  • Travel and accommodation provided for attendance at Scholarship functions;

This scholarship opportunity represents an opportunity for both UNE and Growing Potential to collaborate and further their shared aims of seeking engagement and providing opportunities for Aboriginal People throughout NSW and nationally.

The Graduate Certificate in NDIS Business Development

The Graduate Certificate NDIS Business Development is a unique initiative between UNE and the broader disability sector. It represents a 2 year, part-time Graduate Certificate level qualification, with a targeted focus on business development for organisations in the disability sector.

The Graduate Certificate was designed and implemented in direct consultation between the disability sector and UNE. With a reference group comprising a range of human services organisations, government representatives and private sector stakeholders, this Graduate Certificate represents an innovative industry lead educational pathway to support the disability sector transition to the new NDIS business environment.

  • The Graduate Certificate is overseen by a strong and vibrant industry reference group that is actively involved in all aspects of the course. This includes:
  • Contributing to course content;
  • Participating in course delivery through pre-recorded lectures;
  • Online discussion and engagement with students;
  • Development and growth of the initiative.

The Reference Group involves representation from organisations of different sizes and geographic footprint. This ensures that the group itself remains reflective of a broad cross-section of the disability service sector. With the ongoing implementation of the NDIS underway at a national level, the Reference Group continues to work with the Graduate Certificate NDIS Business Development Course Coordinator to refine course content, and ensure that the co-design of the Graduate Certificate is reflected in all aspects of the program.

The Partners (Growing Potential Ltd)

Growing Potential is a not-for-profit community organisation with more than 70 years of experience of positive engagement with Aboriginal families and communities. As an organisation that prides itself on identifying innovative ways to develop partnerships based on shared commitments and goals, Growing Potential has continued to be a proactive contributor to the development of the Graduate Certificate through our participation on the industry reference group. We have made active contributions in all aspects of course development and remain committed to supporting this exciting cross-sector collaboration moving into the future.

This scholarship represents a strategic investment for Growing Potential to contribute to the development of targeted and effective cultural care models under the NDIS. It also represents an investment in opportunity, and an investment in the capacity of the disability sector to effectively meet the needs of Aboriginal people with disability.

Growing Potential is proud to be able to find ways to be able to grow and diversify the range of services, programs and opportunities that we provide to Aboriginal children and families. At present our commitment and contribution supports the following:

  • Management of NDIS Early Intervention Project on the Mid-North Coast of NSW;
  • Substantial Aboriginal representation in our Growing Early Minds NDIS Early Intervention Service;
  • Ongoing strategic partnerships with Aboriginal Community Controlled organisations;
  • Aboriginal School Readiness initiative program throughout Western Sydney.

Growing Potential’s ongoing commitment to proactively identifying opportunities to work in partnership with Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders is reflected in all elements of the business. Since the commencement of the implementation of the NDIS, this commitment has been reflected through a series of initiatives undertaken to broaden our engagement with Aboriginal children and families. As a consequence of our proactive approach to engaging and enfranchising Aboriginal people in our service, our Growing Early Minds Early Intervention Service continues to experience sustained service demand from local Aboriginal families.

The Partners (University of New England)

The University of New England is a regional-based Australian University, located in Armidale NSW. The UNE seeks to serve regional, national and international communities through the progressive pursuit of excellence in scholarship, research and teaching.

The University of New England boasts a long history of positive engagement with Aboriginal people and communities. As an award winning regional university, the UNE continues to strive for excellence in the provision of educational opportunities for Aboriginal people.

With the UNE Oorala Aboriginal Learning Centre celebrating 50 years of supporting the needs of Aboriginal students, UNE continues to recognise the importance of continuous improvement in the provision of services to Aboriginal communities. The Oorala Aboriginal Learning Centre continues to play an active role in the implementation of the scholarship initiative, and stands ready to support the student needs of scholarship recipients.

Wrapping Up

This Graduate Certificate NDIS Business Development Aboriginal Scholarship initiative is an exciting partnership in every sense of the word. It is an initiative that is designed to ensure that Aboriginal people are provided with an opportunity to undertake one of the most innovative and exciting courses of study currently available in the NDIS disability space. It represents an innovative cross-sector partnership to build the capacity of the disability sector to effectively identify and respond to the needs of Aboriginal people with disability.

With the current roll-out of the NDIS we have a unique opportunity to engage and enfranchise Aboriginal people in the disability service system. An opportunity to recognise the needs of Aboriginal people with disability, and develop a service system that is responsive to their individual and cultural needs.

Growing Potential and UNE recognise the importance of building capacity within the disability sector to effectively engage Aboriginal people in the service provision process. A key element in building this capacity includes ensuring that opportunities are provided for Aboriginal people to build their skills in relation to operating effectively within the NDIS business environment. It is our sincere hope that each scholarship recipient completes their Graduate Certificate in NDIS Business Development, and goes on to become a leader in championing innovative ways in which the disability sector can evolve to meet the service needs of Aboriginal people with disability under the NDIS framework. It is our shared commitment to ensure that each scholarship recipient is given all the tools and opportunities to become the leaders of tomorrow in NDIS Aboriginal service provision.

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