PROSPECTIVE counsellors are once again able to gain qualifications locally after the College of Counselling Studies regained accreditation for its course.
After a five-year battle to get the diploma-level course accredited, the college has entered into an agreement with TAFE NSW New England Institute to deliver the course under its auspices.
Principal Jenny Regan said the course had been delivered in the region for 25 years and had been accredited until new rules came into force.
The course has since been updated to meet the standards of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia and the Vocational Education and Training framework.
Mrs Regan said there was no other accredited training in the region and anyone who
wanted to gain a counselling qualification had to do it by correspondence, mainly from Sydney.
The course was important, she said, because the region suffered from a shortage of people working in mental health, particularly those with an understanding of rural issues.
The college says it addressed the issues facing rural and regional areas and had an emphasis on the understanding of cultural differences, especially those affecting Aboriginal people.
It also has a large practical component in the form of monthly tutorials and twice-yearly workshops.
The course is also delivered in partnership with Anglicare, with whom students can undertake an internship.
Mrs Regan said the course was run on continuous enrolments, with students able to enrol at any time they were ready.
An introductory course will be held in Tamworth and Inverell later this month and next month.