The provision of Vocational Education and Training in the Wimmera has been given a boost, now that Stawell and Ararat secondary college students have another option to travel to Horsham to learn.
That's according to Wimmera Southern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network executive officer Tim Shaw, whose organisation has been lobbying V-Line for an extension of one daily V/Line bus service between Ararat and Horsham each Wednesday.
The Department of Transport has confirmed to the Mail-Times it will trial this measure until the end of 2020.
A spokesman said the morning service would be operated by a coach "which normally travels from Ararat without passengers to return to the depot in Horsham".
V/Line and DoT will review the service following the school year in consultation with the school and LLEN.
As the service is a trial specifically implemented for VET students, it has not been included in public-facing timetables.
Students are able to return to Stawell and Ararat on the regular scheduled coach which departs around 3:20pm.
Mr Shaw said the LLEN now co-ordinated the VET cluster for 15 Western Victorian schools.
"Ararat and Stawell had traditionally run their own clusters with Marian and Lake Bolac secondary colleges which are registered training organisations," he said.
"They had been finding it difficult to get trainers and justify the cost of delivering courses, so this will help them and strengthen the provision of VET in our area. It's a win-win."
Mr Shaw said the network co-ordinated courses including building and construction, electro-technology, plumbing, health design and media. He thanked the department and MPs Emma Kealy and Louise Staley for their involvement in getting the trial off the ground.
Ms Kealy said the new trial would help around 55 students from Stawell and Ararat.
The department also announced a small change to improve the town bus network, after residents of Horsham's Oatlands Court called for their Alexander Avenue bus stop to be reinstated.
"Until Saturday March 21, two services per day on route one will travel via Alexander Avenue," the spokesman said.
"From Monday March 23, all route three services to Houston Street/Arnold Road will travel via Alexander Avenue, instead of stopping on Wawunna Road."
It is also constructing a bus stop on River Road at a revised location, after resident Wendy Aston criticised the location of the bus stop outside her property.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.