LLENs funding secure: Wimmera Southern Mallee and Central Grampians Local Learning and Education Networks receive lifeline

LET’S READ: Wimmera Southern Mallee Local Learning and Employment
Network executive officer Tim Shaw presents a book to young mum Kezra
Hansen and son Tremayne. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

LET’S READ: Wimmera Southern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network executive officer Tim Shaw presents a book to young mum Kezra Hansen and son Tremayne. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

WIMMERA Southern Mallee and Central Grampians Local Learning and Education Networks have been handed a lifeline after the State Government committed to funding the organisations for another year.

The networks will receive $8 million statewide next year.

Workplace learning co-ordinators will receive $5.1 million statewide.

The funding announcement comes a week after the State Opposition announced its plan to fund the networks to the tune of $32 million over the next four years.

The networks faced an uncertain future after the Federal Government said it would stop funding them.

In 2014, the Federal Government gave $10 million to the program and the State Government chipped in $2.3 million, meaning there will now be $4.3 million less for LLENs.

Education Minister Martin Dixon said there was a role for government to identify and address the needs of vulnerable young people.

"Disappointingly the Federal Government has reduced its funding from $11 million in 2014 to zero funding in 2015," he said.

"This $13.1 million investment will ensure LLENs and workplace learning co-ordinators can continue to deliver strong pathways from school to further education and work."

Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN executive officer Tim Shaw said it was important to the region the work of the network continued.

"We're tremendously appreciative of the government's commitment," he said.

"There's no shortage of need across the Wimmera and the southern Mallee."

But Mr Shaw said the uncertainty around funding had taken its toll on the organisation.

"It has been difficult over the past few months," he said.

"We've lost staff due to their concerns over job security and up until now it has been very difficult to recruit new staff.

"Now we've got the certainty of at least another 12 months."

Mr Shaw said Labor's policy provided more continuing certainty, but he was pleased the government had also come on board.

Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford described LLENs as a match-making service between employers and training organisations.

"The work they do is very valuable and it's at a modest cost to the State Budget that returns enormous benefits to young people and industry," she said.

"That's particularly the case in regional areas."

Central Grampians LLEN executive officer James Skene said the network was an essential service for children and young adults who might fall through the cracks.

"Dealing with youth who are disengaged from day-to-day schoolwork is the core of what we do," he said.

"We try to give them opportunities to get work or apprenticeships and we put programs in place to give them the skills to get jobs."

Mr Dixon flagged further discussions about how the networks would be structured without federal funding.

"As a further sign of this unwavering commitment, in the coming months we will be working with LLENs, workplace learning co-ordinators, schools, industry and other stakeholders to manage the transition to a more effective and sustainable state-based model," he said.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop