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Welcome to the
Steps Simulated Workplace

The Diploma of Financial Counselling requires students to complete 220 hours of work placement in a financial counselling agency.  Over 250 students have now undertaken their work placement with the Steps Simulated Workplace developed by the national peak body, Financial Counselling Australia.

What is a simulated workplace (also called a virtual placement)?

A simulated workplace provides all the benefits of a physical workplace, except that you attend online and not in person and that the clients you see and virtual and not real. You will be assigned a mentor who will support you along the way as you move from observing client interviews to conducting interviews independently over the course of the program.

You will also be able to network with all the other students and bounce ideas off them. Because the students in your simulated workplace will be from all over the country you will get to meet people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.

The simulated agency, Steps, has been purpose built by the national peak body for the financial counselling sector, Financial Counselling Australia. The program is designed to ensure you get to practise and demonstrate all the financial counselling skills you will need at the coalface.

Who are the mentors?

Steps’ mentors are experienced, highly skilled financial counsellors who are well respected in the profession. They are employed and trained by Financial Counselling Australia to provide support and ongoing expertise to ensure you have a high-quality experience throughout your placement.

How many hours of placement can I complete in the Steps simulated workplace?

You can complete 220 hours of placement at Steps.

You can expect to spend 15 – 20 hours a week working in your placement. Three hours a week will be interactive and at a time that suits both you and your mentor (usually within working hours). The rest of the hours can be completed at times that suit you. You will be required to complete certain task by the end of each week.

At Steps we also run a ‘Hybrid’ program where you can complete 120 hours of your placement at Steps, over eight weeks and work with your Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to secure a further 100 hours at a face to face Agency.

Please note you need to have completed your Financial Units and have support from your RTO to apply for both programs.

How long will it take me to complete my placement?

Each group of students who enter the Steps workplace will complete their 220 hour placement in 12 weeks. Or 120 hour hybrid placement in 8 weeks.

The next full cohort will commence Monday 12th August 2024 and applications have closed. Applications for the November 2024 cohort will open mid September 2024.

The next hybrid cohort will commence early August 2024 and please talk to your RTO, as we are currently seeking nominations from them.

Are there limited spaces?

To ensure your placement experience is of a high quality, including being provided with extensive support from your mentor, we have a limited the number of places for each cohort.

How we will be selecting participants

The Steps program is rigorous and will require students to be self-motivated, eager to learn and passionate about the financial counselling profession. We are looking for high-calibre, committed students for this program – please ensure your cover letter reflects why you would be a good candidate.

  • We want students from a variety of RTOs. We will take into consideration the overall number of students studying the Diploma at each RTO and allocating a proportionate number of places.
  • We will prioritise students who have completed their Diploma (or nearly completed the Diploma).
  • We will priorities students completing the Diploma CHC51115 (older Diploma)
  • We will also take into consideration factors that make it difficult for you to do a face-to-face placement (for example, you live in an area where there are very few financial counselling agencies).
  • We will take your availability into consideration. It is important that you are able to attend  meetings with your mentor during their available hours and that you are able to manage the workload in the program

If you are shortlisted for a place, we will seek support from your RTO.

Does it cost anything?

No, this is a fully funded program that Financial Counselling Australia has developed to support students in undertaking their placement hours in recognition of the difficulties caused since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Want to know more?

Have a look at this recording of our latest information session.

You can also contact us directly if you have further questions.

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