Now in its fifth year, The Fellows Program motto is “Better Yourself. Better the Mission”. It encourages staff, officers and volunteers to pursue their professional development aspirations that will benefit both them and the wider Salvation Army by awarding scholarships of up to $5,000 each.
In 2015, 20 people across NSW, ACT and QLD were chosen from 44 individuals who applied - the highest number of applicants since The Fellows Program’s inception. Applications included a wide cross section of requests including further education, vocational training, field work, research projects, and attendance at relevant seminars and conferences.
Aged Care Plus Chief Executive Officer, Sharon Callister, says The Fellows Program is a demonstration of The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus’ leading approach to nurturing and investing in its people.
“The Fellows Program offers mutual benefit for individuals and the organisation as a whole,” Ms Callister says.
“It rewards people whose work makes a positive difference to The Salvation Army and encourages all staff to find creative ways to further the mission, whilst also enabling them to realise their personal dreams through positive contributions back to The Salvation Army,” she says.
One of the successful applicants is Andre Ramraj, care service employee at Riverview Gardens Aged Care Plus Centre. Mr Ramraj will utilise The Fellows Program scholarship to upskill through a Bachelor of Nursing degree at the University of Southern Queensland.
“I was so excited to receive the Fellows Program Scholarship to support my goal of becoming a registered nurse. Undertaking this degree will allow me to make a greater difference to the community and my workplace,” Mr Ramraj says.
“I love caring for our residents and making them feel at home at our Centre. I’m looking forward to increasing my skills to complement the strong passion I have for caring for others,” he says.
Litia Vaka, care service employee at Elizabeth Jenkins Place Aged Care Plus Centre, is another Fellows Program recipient. She alsohas her sights set on furthering her professional development through a Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney.
“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse, and I am very passionate about helping others,” Ms. Vaka says.
”Growing up in a family with limited opportunities and income, I have found it difficult to find the finances to start my studies. I’m really looking forward to starting my Bachelor of Nursing,” she adds.