The Victorian Department of Health (the Department) is offering scholarships of up to $13,000 for university level qualifications to lived and living experience workers (LLEWs) employed in state funded mental health or Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) services.

The scholarships are available to eligible individuals who are enrolled or intending to enrol in an eligible undergraduate and postgraduate course in semester one 2024.


Applications are now closed, please sign up to our expression of interest list to receive updates on future application rounds.

Key dates

  • Applications open
    Friday 22 September 2023
  • Applications close
    Tuesday 7 November 2023

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria.

Applicants must:

  • Be employed in a state funded mental health or AOD service including peak bodies, training organisations and services delivered by NGOs.
  • Be employed in a designated lived or living experience role. Designated lived experience roles include all positions, that regardless of the position type or setting, require lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress, substance use or addiction, or of being a family member or carer.
  • Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident or New Zealand citizen.
  • Be eligible to enrol in, or already be enrolled in, a university level qualification for semester one 2024 (i.e., bachelor’s degree, graduate certificate, graduate diploma, masters, or doctorate). Scholarship recipients may defer their enrolment once.
  • Be able to provide a letter of recommendation from line-manger and/or lived/living experience senior (if relevant), confirming the applicant’s length of engagement in the sector and how the service will support the applicant’s learning (e.g., through study leave, flexible workload, etc). Use template provided here

Eligible courses

University level courses that build management and leadership skills are eligible for funding. To be awarded a scholarship, candidates must demonstrate their commitment to the lived and living experience workforces and describe how the proposed course will support them to use their lived or living experience perspective across leadership or management roles in the mental health and wellbeing or AOD sector. For example, in leadership, management or change management roles.

Funding is available to support lived and living experience workers to complete university level qualifications in Family Therapy (for example, a Graduate Certificate of Counselling Child Youth and Family Therapy or a Master of Clinical Family Therapy). Applicants will need to demonstrate a clear connection to family/carer leadership and skill development in their application to meet the requirements of this initiative.

Currently there are not any lived or living experience specific university courses offered by Australian-based universities. However, applications from candidates wishing to complete postgraduate courses in Mad Studies through international universities or higher degrees by research focused on lived or living experience research topics are encouraged.

These scholarships are not designed to support lived and living experience workers to qualify as mental health clinicians. As such, funding is not available for degrees in clinical disciplines (for example, nursing, social work, occupational therapy).

Areas of study that applicants could consider include (but are not limited to):

  • leadership
  • education and training
  • research and evaluation
  • training and assessment
  • change management
  • finance and administration
  • policy and governance
  • health services management
  • project management
  • family therapy
  • mad studies.

Selection criteria

Scholarships will be awarded based on your responses to the selection questions and additional weighting will be given to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants, and those who work in regional or rural Victoria.

The selection questions are below:

Describe your experience in the mental health or AOD sectors in lived or living experience roles (consider all relevant experience including paid, unpaid, or partly paid engagements).

How have you demonstrated lived or living experience leadership in these roles (draw on the skills, experience, and values you bring from your lived experience perspective)?

Briefly describe the course you have proposed and how it will contribute to building your leadership capability and opportunities within the mental health or AOD lived and living experience workforce.

Describe your professional goals and how you wish to contribute to the mental health or AOD lived and living experience workforce in the future.

Value of the scholarship

Scholarships are up to approximately $13,000 and can be used to cover up to 90 percent of course fees for an eligible course.

Please note that scholarship reimbursements are made on a per unit basis and paid directly to the scholarship recipient, not the education provider. ACN can only provide a reimbursement for the course fees after the census date has lapsed. This may mean that some scholarship recipients will need to either initially pay for the course fees themselves or let them be deferred to HECs/ Fee Help, which can then be paid off with the scholarship funds.

Contact us

t: 1800 061 660