Graduation celebration for social impact students in South Australia

After months of hard work, students at the Centre for Social Impact, Flinders University are celebrating completing their Graduate Certificate in Social Impact. The first program of its kind in South Australia, the course equips students with the skills to drive meaningful social change and opens the door for South Australians seeking a career with purpose. This year four new graduates — Sofiann Saidi, Carman Wilson, Tristan Warneke and Brooke Johns - will don cap and gown to mark this significant achievement.

2024 social impact scholarship recipient, Sofiann Saidi, is the first in his family to pursue higher education, a "journey that began against the backdrop of being raised in one of the largest ghettos in the east of France," he explains.

Sofiann quote and profile photo

"This upbringing has been a driving force behind my desire to work with youth and engage in volunteering, particularly in the fields of youth work and social services. Pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact is motivated by my aspiration to deepen my understanding and expertise in this domain.

"I've been thoroughly impressed with the quality of the course and the supportive learning environment throughout the program. It's been a rewarding journey, and I'm excited to see how I can continue to apply what I've learned to make a difference in my community. On a professional level, the course has significantly broadened my career prospects and enriched my professional skills. Personally, it has deepened my understanding and passion for social change.

"I am particularly passionate about combating racism and discrimination in South Australia. My goal is to challenge existing norms and empower individuals to speak out against injustice. By advocating for policy changes and fostering dialogue within communities, my aim is to create a more inclusive and equitable society," said Sofiann.

Students from CSI Flinders smiling on graduation day
Class of 2024: Carman Wilson, Sandra Robinson (Educator), Tristan Warneke, Sofiann Saidi and Brooke Johns (l-R)

Also graduating alongside Sofiann is student, Tristan Warneke. Tristan says the course has had a "profound" impact on his personal and professional life. "I have a much greater appreciation for what it takes to create great social impact and the big and small ways I can contribute.

"The main change has been to my mindset. I now have the principles and process of social impact in the back of my mind influencing how I think, which is fantastic! It means the course has integrated with my everyday work and should allow me to spot opportunities for growth and improvement. It means work I'm involved in will always have a focus on creating and demonstrating social impact," Tristan shared.

Fellow graduate and scholarship recipient, Carman Wilson, highlighted the value of in-person interactions during the course. "My favourite part of the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact was the weekly in-person tutorials, as they provided the option to work through the case studies and course material in person, which created a deeper understanding of the topics.

"With many years of experience managing operations and finances in the social services sector and government, I am looking to extend my career into a more policy and strategic-led direction. The course has only increased this desire as it has provided me with a wider appreciation of how social impact can create greater and increased benefits not only to individuals but broader society and how to implement this in strategic directions of an organisation," Carman said.

These graduates are a testament to the transformative power of education and the potential for dedicated individuals to drive social change. A very warm congratulations from all of us at the Centre for Social Impact!

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