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Improving Language, Literacy and Learning Outcomes from Swan Hill

Emelia Bett is a Speech Pathologist based in Swan Hill. She discovered that she could utilise the Health Workforce Scholarship Program grant through RWAV to attend the Language, Literacy and Learning Conference in Perth last year.

Emelia works at the only speech pathology private practice in Swan Hill, and provides weekly outreach services to a nearby rural school in Balranald across the NSW border.

With limited speech pathologists living in the area, keeping up to date with professional development opportunities is an important part of her services of care to the community.

The conference is only held in Perth, so without the scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to financially make it over seeing as it’s four hours down to Melbourne and then a four-hour flight across to Perth, said Emelia.

“It was a three-day conference where they had lots of international speakers, speaking about the best ways that we can support children with their learning, language and literacy. There were many sessions that also covered brain development, which is really interesting and not anything that I’d seen at many other conferences before.”

Emelia spent her university days in Bendigo, where she was awarded a scholarship that would help with studying costs with the intention that she would return to a rural area to work after graduation. Choosing to return to Swan Hill, Emelia understood the importance of having the skills to support families within the community given that local residents are restricted with service options due to the rural location of the town.

“Because I’m the only private practice service in Swan Hill, I guess that main reason I wanted to attend the conference was just being able to produce and develop the quality of work that I provide to my clients.”

Emelia also organised a professional development session with her colleagues and speech pathologists in Swan Hill to share her learnings.

With her work in local schools, Emelia provides a wide scope of practice to the community in the areas of language, literacy and learning.

“I work as a speech pathologist at a school in a small town called Balranald. They don’t get a lot of support being that they’re in NSW which means that Sydney is their capital city, but it’s a long long way away from Sydney. So, I guess they sort of rely on services coming from elsewhere.”

“It’s been great for me to go over there and share some of the things that I’ve learnt from the conference with them, being that they’re so isolated. I loved being given the opportunity to travel to this CPD and bring back a wealth of knowledge to my community.”

If you are interested in pursuing professional development opportunities or post-graduate studies, consider applying for the Health Workforce Scholarship Program. RWAV offers grants and scholarships to health professionals working in private practice in rural and regional Victoria. Find out more here. 

If you are interested in work opportunities in country Victoria, see current vacancies on the RWAV website.

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health administered by RWAV in Victoria.

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