Bringing comfort to the FIFOs

October 23, 2013

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Murdoch University is set to offer the first Graduate Diploma in Chaplaincy in Australia, partly in response to a growing demand for more spiritual and emotional support for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers.

The idea for the one-year course arose out of an increased need for support across a number of industries, including mining and resource companies looking for ways to battle worker feelings of dissatisfaction and increase the effectiveness of employee support programs.

Murdoch University Chair of Theology Dr James Trotter said the core of the course was structured to educate students for the multi-faith environment in which most chaplains work today, but was also flexible enough to permit students to choose significant Christian theological content, if that was appropriate to their future career goals.

“We recognise that chaplains, Christian or not, work increasingly in multi-faith contexts and need to be appropriately resourced to meet the needs of a wide range of individual perspectives,” Dr Trotter said.

“Although chaplaincy has predominantly been a vocation taken up by Christians in the past, it is increasingly becoming a career for people from a variety of faiths or those with no faith.”

Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology Dr Alexander Jensen said caring for the spiritual needs of people in a variety of contexts was becoming increasingly important in contemporary society.

“We are seeing chaplains not just in hospitals and schools, but in prisons, aged care facilities and mining and transport companies, whose staff are away from home for extended periods,” Dr Jensen said.

“Companies are recognising that they have to look after the whole person to have a productive and stable workforce.”

Dr Jensen said a move by the government to require training for chaplains in state schools had also increased interest in the creation of the course.

The course prepares students for a range of contexts and includes background in Christian theology and theory of chaplaincy as well as a practical placement.

Dr Jensen said one of the lecturers being brought in to help with the course was the highly respected Reverend Dr Philip Raymont, currently Senior Chaplain at Guildford Grammar School and a graduate and former Lecturer and College Fellow of the University of Cambridge in England.

For more information on the Graduate Diploma in Chaplaincy, go here.

For information on Murdoch University’s new Master of Divinity course, go here.

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