Climbing enrolments at one regional university helps address skilled worker shortages

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

Federation University Psychology graduates could be the key to address shortages in one of the most in-demand sectors in the region.

At the university in regional Victoria, the number of psychology student enrolments have increased by 87 per cent since 2019 across Bachelor to Master courses. The increase creates a pipeline of skilled workers to meet the increasing demand, which is set to increase 13.3 per cent by 2024 (Source: Report – Jobs and Skills Australia 2021 Employment projections for the five years to 2026.)

Madeleine Milton is 27-year-old psychology student at Federation University and says she’s on a mission to become a registered psychologist and contribute to improving the lives of individuals in need of psychological support.

Lack of mental health services in regional Australia

Currently, only 30 per cent of trained Psychiatrists and Psychologists live in regional areas – a figure that puts extra pressure on available services and reduces accessibility options for locals in need of support.

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Ms Milton says she gained valuable experience from placements at FedCare Psychology – a new facility based at the Greenhill Enterprise Centre at Federation’s Mount Helen Campus – which has provided more than 7,500 hours of care to Victorians via telehealth consultations in 2023.

In 2024, FedCare has seen the largest ever group of Provisional Psychologists – trainees who practice under supervision before becoming fully registered, with 37 in total providing treatment and cognitive assessments.

Workplace placements offer practical experience

Ms Milton also undertook placements at a local secondary school, public mental health services and private practice, with the diverse opportunities exposing her to a range of clients and issues that she believes have better prepared her for her career ahead.

“Thanks to my placement opportunities and coursework over the duration of my six years of study I feel prepared for the workforce,” she says.

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“I am really looking forward to putting my work into practice.”

Tertiary pathways lead to new opportunities

Having now received her general registration as a psychologist, Ms Milton is enjoying a new role as a clinical register in public mental health – a journey that she hopes will encourage aspiring psychologists to pursue further education pathways.

“If you are passionate about studying, take the first step towards your dream career,” she says.

“We are proud of the high-quality psychology training we offer at Federation. Our placement program is dynamic and offers our students opportunities to develop skills working with a diverse range of clients and our provisional psychologists in training make an enormous impact on the community,” says Federation University Associate Professor, Head of Clinical Services and Programs, Psychology Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Megan Jenkins.

“Our FedCare psychology services offers state-of-the-art training facilities and exceptional supervision. It’s a privilege to support students like Maddie through their journey to becoming a psychologist.”

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]