Community Colleges Australia (CCA) has warmly welcomed the recent announcement by the NSW Government that it will provide “$17.8 million to fund not-for-profit community education providers that help thousands of disadvantaged, regional and remote learners in NSW gain access to formal education and training.”
The announcement, by Minister for Regional Development, Skills and Small Business, the Hon John Barilaro MP, confirmed that “Adult and Community Education providers are vital in helping students that may need additional support.” This funding through the “Community Services Obligation” program provides “an important pathway for foundation skills, pre-vocational or bridging programs to more formal education and work-related training.”
Minister Barilaro’s release goes on to note that “NSW ACE courses also offer other educational, social and civic engagement benefits aimed at removing disadvantage and improving opportunity.”
“A typical student studying at an ACE provider is twice as likely to have a disability compared to students in other Vocational Education and Training programs which is why this funding is so important,” Mr Barilaro said.
“In one case we have been able to support a young mother of three who studied for a Certificate III in aged care leading to completion of a Cert IV and she is now in her first year of nursing at the University of Wollongong with a job in an aged care facility,” Mr Barilaro said.
The NSW Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations, the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP, recently joined with Minister Barilaro to point out the importance of the community education sector funding to NSW community colleges, especially in regional and rural NSW.
CCA notes that community education services in rural and regional NSW – as in the rest of Australia – are particularly important, constituting more than 10 percent of accredited vocational education outside of the capital cities. The wide range of non-accredited learning and other support services provided by community education organisations also complement the formal programs.