The St Vincent de Paul Society this year partnered with Edith Cowan University to provide opportunities for disadvantaged people to access free tertiary education.

The Catalyst Clemente program delivers tertiary-level education in the humanities for people facing additional challenges in their life, including financial constraints, health and social issues, and other factors.

St Vincent de Paul Society CEO Mark Fitzpatrick said it was great to be partnering with ECU to offer this free program for people experiencing disadvantage.

“The St Vincent de Paul Society is dedicated to helping people who are marginalised or disadvantaged and education is an important way that we can help lift people out of poverty,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

“The program provides an invaluable opportunity for people who may otherwise never have had the chance to undertake tertiary study.

“But more than that, it helps instil the confidence and hope needed to bring about positive changes in their life,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

Students completing the four-unit program are able to go on to enrol in an undergraduate degree at ECU and embark on a new career.

“The commitment and enthusiasm that Clemente students have shown has made these my favourite classes to teach,” ECU lecturer Sharon Kostopoulos said.

“I go to class knowing they’ll be fully prepared and ready to learn, and I go home feeling like I’ve made a critical difference in their lives.”

Semester 1 student Amber, has already applied and been accepted into a Bachelor’s degree.

“I really like Clemente – it has definitely helped me both academically and personally,” Amber said.

“Clemente has made me realise I have the capacity to study at uni and gave me the confidence to take up opportunities I probably wouldn’t have taken up before.”

The remaining five classmates have been joined by new students and are currently undertaking semester 2.


If you or someone you know would like to find out more information or enrol in this program, please contact us on info@svdpwa.org.au or 9475 5400. 

Note:  Enrolments close 26 July 2016, only 20 spots available.