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HWSP FAQ

What is the Health Workforce Scholarship Program?

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program (HWSP) is a new initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health. The program aims to improve access to health services in rural and remote areas by supporting an increase in skills, capacity and scope of practice for medical, nursing, midwifery, allied health, dental and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals providing primary health care in the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector (ACCHS) sector, non-government organisations and private practice.

Under the HWSP, health professionals working in rural and remote locations (MMM 3-7) can apply for scholarships or bursaries to pursue further education or attend training courses. Back to top

Who manages the Program?

The NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) administers the Health Workforce Scholarship Program in NSW on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health. Back to top

Who is eligible for the Program?

To be eligible for a scholarship or bursary, you must be a health professional and meet all the following criteria:

  1. Hold a primary professional qualification or are working in an existing role e.g. as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Worker/Practitioner; and
  2. Provide (or demonstrate through a service or employment agreement that you are about to provide) health services in rural NSW (MMM 3-7 locations); and
  3. Work in the fields of medicine, nursing, midwifery, allied health, dentistry or Aboriginal health; and
  4. Propose to undertake study or upskilling activities that will fill the established, high priority gaps in health service provision within their community; and
  5. Be willing, if required, to commit to a Return of Service Obligation (RoSO) that does not exceed 12 months; and
  6. Provide services, at least part-time, in the private (non-NSW Government) sector.

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Who is not eligible for the Program?

Any health professional employed solely by the NSW Government (i.e. employed in a public hospital, TAFE or school) is not eligible to apply. Please refer to NSW Health or your government agency for scholarship opportunities. Back to top

What is the difference between a scholarship and a bursary?

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program offers two types of funding:

  1. Scholarships: A payment up to $10,000 per year, for up to two years, toward the cost of completing a postgraduate course leading to a postgraduate qualification
  2. Bursaries: A payment up to $10,000 (maximum of $10,000 in total in one year) for professional development and upskilling course fees and associated accommodation and travel-related expenses

The type of funding offered will depend on the type of study undertaken. Back to top

Can more than one application per year be made be made?

Yes, you can make more than one application in a 12-month period, to the total value of $10,000 per year. Back to top

Are applicants working in NSW but living in another state or territory eligible to apply?

Yes, the Health Workforce Scholarship Program is open to health professionals who work and provide services to MMM 3-7 NSW rural and remote communities throughout Australia. Back to top

Can applicants working in rural locations outside of NSW apply?

Yes, applicants working outside of NSW can apply for a scholarship or bursary through the relevant State or Territory Rural Workforce Agency:

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What are MMM 3-7 locations?

The Modified Monash Model (MMM) is a geographical classification system that categorises metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas according to both geographical remoteness and town size.

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program is available to health professionals employed in or providing services to areas categorised as MMM 3-7.

To find the classification of a specific location, go to the DoctorConnect website. Back to top

What professions can apply?

The following health professions are eligible to apply for the Health Workforce Scholarship Program:

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Worker/Practitioner

Allied Health Professional

Arts Therapist

Audiologist

Chiropractor

Dentist

Dietitian

Exercise Physiologist

Medical Practitioner

Midwife

Music Therapist

Nurse

Occupational Therapist

Optometrist

Orthotist

Orthoptist

Osteopath

Pharmacist

Physiotherapist

Podiatrist

Prosthetist

Psychologist

Radiographer

Social Worker

Sonographer

Speech Pathologist

 

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What kind of training and study will be supported?

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program supports a wide range of study and training options, including: 

  • university postgraduate courses; Certificates, Diplomas, Masters, PhDs
  • short courses, workshops, conferences and seminars
  • vocational Education and Training courses e.g. Australian Skills Quality Authorisation (ASQA) recognised training packages
  • training that meets the professional development requirements of the applicant’s professional registration and/or association
  • recognised industry skills training and upskilling for individual health professionals.

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What amount of funding is available?

Scholarship funding

Health Workforce Scholarship Program postgraduate scholarships involve a payment dependent upon the qualification being undertaken. Scholarships will be awarded as a contribution toward the cost of courses. Scholarship funding per qualification per year is as follows:

 Postgraduate qualification

 Amount

 Graduate Certificate

 $5,000

 Graduate Diploma

 $8,000

 Masters or PhD

 $10,000

 

Applicants must submit a new application if their course extends beyond one year for consideration for a second year of funding. Scholarship allocation will be determined against the perceived workforce benefit of the training and scholarships must be directly related to training and upskilling health professionals who will provide services to rural and remote areas. 

Bursary funding

Health Workforce Scholarship Program bursaries involve payments up to $10,000 that contribute toward the cost of training or course fees as well as training related expenses such as accommodation and transport where appropriate. Bursaries must be directly related to training and upskilling health professionals who are providing or planning (with evidence) to provide services to rural and remote areas. Back to top

What training and skill needs have been identified as a priority?

RDN has worked with stakeholders to identify regional and local health workforce skills and capacity needs through an annual Health Workforce Needs Assessment (HWNA). The HWNA forms the basis for determining the allocation of scholarships and bursaries.

The following upskilling and training areas have been identified in the HWNA:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care
  • Chronic disease management
  • Severe and complex conditions
  • Mental health management 
  • Children and young people
  • Aged care and associated conditions
  • End of life/palliative care
  • Culturally safe practices and practitioners
  • Team/coordinated patient care and
  • Improve patient health literacy and self-management.

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What is the application process?

Before you apply you will need to:

  1. assess your eligibility by reading the HWSP Applicant Guidelines
  2. set up a MyRDN account
  3. collect your supporting documentation
  4. submit your application via the MyRDN portal.

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Are all applicants guaranteed a scholarship or bursary?

No. Successful applicants must meet all the Health Workforce Scholarship Program eligibility criteria to be considered for a scholarship or bursary. All applications are assessed against the needs of the community. Scholarships and bursaries will be awarded to those who wish to undertake study and training that help to fill a service gap or address the health needs of specific communities. Back to top

What is a Return of Service Obligation?

A Return of Service Obligation (RoSO) will be determined as part of the Health Workforce Scholarship Program application process. The RoSO will be clearly stated in the successful applicant’s contract with the RDN, which the applicant will need to sign before commencing the activity.

All applicants awarded a scholarship will be committed to a ROSO. The maximum period of a RoSO is 12 months in total. Applicants receiving bursaries equal to or greater than $5,000 will need to commit to a RoSO of 12 months.

Where a health professional accepts a scholarship or a bursary and does not complete the required service obligations as stated in their contract, funding will be recovered from the health professional. Back to top

What is Case Management?

Successful applicants will be case managed by the RDN throughout their scholarship or bursary activity relevant to the value of the scholarship or bursary and the scope of any Return of Service Obligation (RoSO). Back to top

Is the scholarship means tested?

No. All applications to the Health Workforce Scholarship Program are assessed against the needs of the community.

Scholarships and bursaries will be awarded to those who wish to undertake study and training that help fill a service gap or address the health needs of specific communities. Back to top.

How long will my application take to process?

Applicants are notified by email of the outcome of their application within 8-weeks of submitting an application. Back to top

Further information?

Please contact RDN for further information about the Health Workforce Scholarship Program on email or phone 02 4924 8000. Back to top