The Australian College of Applied Psychology (ACAP) celebrated its highest number of New South Wales graduands on 28 November. Around 750 people attended the graduation ceremony at the Wesley Conference Centre in the Sydney CBD.
The audience comprised the year’s psychology, counselling, social work, coaching, youth work and case management students, plus their family and friends. ACAP campuses in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide also marked the year’s end with campus festivities to honour their graduand’s achievements.
Guest speaker at the Sydney Graduation Day ceremony was existential psychologist Clare Mann, a best-selling author and ACAP alumna.
Clare shared professional insights with the audience from her successful career that has included being awarded Fellowship of the British Psychological Society and Australian Human Resources Institute, for her contribution and thought leadership to these professions.
“Thirty years of experience as a psychologist has taught me that at the end, people ask three things: Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?” she said.
“The last one is key. Everyone wants to matter in some way, and feel their life is or was worthwhile. You can help them on this journey.”
Bachelor of Psychological Science graduate Stefan Hay was nominated by the faculty to deliver the 2017 valedictory address on behalf of his colleagues. He began by admitting that public speaking about his study experience was a challenge he could not have imagined as a shy student engrossed in his books, when he began the course.
“The support we receive as students at ACAP is what truly makes the experience a rich and rewarding one. Classmates, educators and family all play such a crucial role in keeping us afloat and getting us through each week, or just that one day where it’s all too much,” he said.
“The personal lesson I learned most significantly at ACAP is that you need to take the time to work on yourself before you can work on other people. We have been entrusted with the tools to help people shape and influence the direction of their lives: to develop their own confidence, to find their inner strength, and to foster their ability to forge their own path. This is both a universal and intensely personal journey that we have embarked upon, one not without risk but also the potential for great reward.”
ACAP’s class of 2017 enters the workforce during a period of high growth in the social and welfare sector.
The Australian government’s Labour Market Employment Projections to 2022 show double-digit growth in employment, with overall demand in this group up 17.2 per cent. Workforce demand for counsellors is predicted to grow by 24.8 per cent; social workers by 22.5 per cent and psychologists by 16.9 per cent over the coming four years.
Farewell to Peter Drake
At the ceremony Dr Raffaele Marcellino, Provost, Navitas Careers and Industry Division, marked the retirement of Emeritus Professor Peter Drake, Chair of ACAP’s Academic Board since 2012.
Professor Drake was the founding Vice-Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, 1991-1998. He previously held academic appointments with the University of New England and the University of Melbourne, along with fellowships at the University of London and University of Manchester. In 2003 he was made a Member in the Order of Australia.
“During his time as Chair of the Academic Board, ACAP underwent significant growth culminating with the achievement of Self Accrediting Authority in 2017. The College is grateful for Em Prof Drake’s leadership and guidance and wish him well,” said Dr Marcellino.