A Community Colleges Australia (CCA) presentation has highlighted innovations from Australia’s adult and community education providers. These innovative projects span across educational services, business and employment – including business incubators, sustainability and the environment, and community services, all of them making a real difference to the local populations.
Dr Don Perlgut and Evelyn Goodwin presented their paper entitled, Developing Tomorrow’s Skills and Building Community: Innovations from Australia’s adult and community education providers (click here for a PDF copy of the presentation slides), at the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) conference in Sydney on 16 August 2018.
Dr Perlgut and Ms Goodwin point out that Australia’s adult and community education providers have a unique role in Australia’s education and training system. As well as providing non-accredited and vocational training, they play a remarkable, often unseen role in economic and community development, especially in regional and rural locations.
Showcased innovations include:
- Driver education programs for rural NSW Aboriginal communities developed by ACE Community Colleges, which assist in disrupting cycles of poverty and unemployment through providing access to work and opportunity.
- Kickstarting digital, marketing and IT careers through “NextGen Digital”, also delivering a Certificate II in skills for Work & Vocational Pathways, at Kiama Community College.
- Permaculture and sustainability programs developed by Bryon Community College that attract regional investment, provide career pathways and employment, and support local sustainable food sources.
- Social enterprises that meet local needs for skill development, employment and service delivery, especially for vulnerable young people – such as JobQuest’s Handyman service.
- A network of unique regional and rural independent secondary schools that provides for the needs of disenfranchised young people, based on adult learning principles.
- Supporting not-for-profit business incubators attuned to local and regional needs, at Business Growth Centre and Byron’s Sourdough Pathways.
- The City East College Mentoring Program, which supports the integration of professionally skilled migrants and refugees into Australian employment.
Australian community education providers specialise in developing programs that are responsive to local needs, often acting as catalysts for learners to move on to higher levels of study when needed for employment.
“These unique and creative, often one-off programs, could only be undertaken in not-for-profit community-based education providers, with their mix of educational expertise and community commitment,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CCA CEO.
“Community providers excel at reaching the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people, including Indigenous Australians, regional and rural residents, people with disabilities, older workers and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Because of their autonomous governance and community base, they have the flexibility to act as innovators and incubators of new ideas and structures for growth and change,” said Dr Perlgut.