A dedicated research and teaching institute will be set up in Victoria to support growth in the disability and aged care sectors, the Victorian Government announced on Wednesday.

The Future Social Service Institute is a collaboration between the Victorian state government, state peak organisation Victorian Council of Social Service and RMIT University. The state government is providing $500,000 in seed funding, which will be matched by RMIT.

The Victorian Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley said the institute would focus on research, education, and training to attract more workers to both sectors as well as boosting the skills of the workforce.

This is the first time a government, a tertiary institution and the social service sector has collaborated on such a project.

Minister Foley said the institute was a response to the impending introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, an ageing population and broader shifts in the delivery of support in community and social services.

The CEO of VCOSS Emma King said the institute would begin operating in 2017 following a period of consultation with service providers, support workers and care recipients to inform the development of the course curriculum and research agenda.

“The institute will benefit from being firmly rooted in both the social service and tertiary sectors,” she said.

RMIT Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean said the aim of the new institute would be to support the development of “world-class industries and care to those who need it.”

The institute’s stated core objectives are to design leading education and training programs for the sector, research emerging trends and opportunities, and support not-for-profits to reorient to a global market.

For more information visit www.futuresocial.org

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