Internships offer valuable experience

Financial Counselling interns at Anglicare Tasmania

Anglicare’s team of financial counsellors work at the coal-face, seeing and hearing the challenges of Tasmanians experiencing financial stress. They’re uniquely placed to support people to understand their options and find a way forward.

Demand for qualified financial counsellors is predicted to rise now that JobKeeper and the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement have come to an end.

The Federal Government is also looking to wind back current safe lending protections, increasing the risk lenders will be able to target people unable to afford to repay a loan. Debate on these legislative changes will resume in the Senate in May or June.

Anglicare is preparing for the anticipated demand for financial counselling services and has introduced an internship program in Launceston and Hobart.

The program sees five people learning from the best in the business. We asked Hobart-based intern Carol Donaldson to explain her interest in this career path and how the placement is shaping it.

What drew you to financial counselling?

One of my first jobs was working at Centrelink in Redfern, NSW. I assisted a variety of people who were at risk of family violence, financial crisis, or drug and alcohol abuse.  I then worked for many years as a legal secretary, but I realised my true passion was working in the community services sector. I completed study in Mental Health and Alcohol & Other Drugs, as well as volunteering in aged care homes and mentoring young people.

What did you find attractive about the Anglicare internship?

I have a strong sense of social justice. This was the perfect opportunity to make a difference to the quality of people’s lives. With help and support I can watch clients grow and live fuller lives.

What projects have you worked on so far?

I have delivered community education budgeting sessions at several Anglicare-managed accommodation facilities for young people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. I have been seeing clients on my own regularly and have been really pleased with the feedback I’ve received from them and from my Anglicare mentors.

What skills are you developing during the internship and what’s next in your career plan?

I’m continuing to develop my skills in the areas of budgeting methods, evaluating people’s financial situations and recognising the link between social problems and financial problems. I am also learning more about bankruptcy, National Consumer Code, legal action and enforcement in specific situations, and identifying legislation in relation to debts. I hope to continue my career as a financial counsellor, especially in community education.

What is your advice for someone thinking about becoming a financial counsellor?

A financial counsellor provides support and advocacy for people. If this is what you enjoy, then this is the career for you!

Lucy’s story

Carol shares Lucy’s story to highlight how accessing financial counselling can turn a family’s life around when they are in crisis. (Lucy is not her real name.)

“Lucy phoned the National Debt Helpline because she was struggling with finances after leaving her partner,” Carol said. “She had been a victim of domestic violence for 15 years. She was now a single mother of six children and didn’t have any support from family or friends.

“Lucy’s family income had reduced and she faced additional living costs. She found herself unable to maintain minimum payments on the loan that she had taken out while she was with her ex-partner.

“Her financial counsellor sent documentation to the lender for a full debt-waiver on compassionate grounds. The debt was successfully waived. Lucy can now build her life with her children free from violence and this has assisted her to become financially independent.”


Are you or someone you know in financial hardship?

The National Debt Helpline, 1800 007 007, is your one-stop-shop if you are experiencing financial stress – it’s free and confidential.  Find out more about Anglicare’s financial counselling service here.

Pic: Carol Donaldson is pictured on the left with fellow interns Stuart Carnaby and Stephanie Lovell.



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