Minister O’Connor Emphasises Importance of Australian Adult and Community Education

Commonwealth Minister for Skills and Training, the Hon. Brendan O’Connor (pictured), has emphasised the importance of adult and community education (ACE) providers in Australian training and skills. In his address to the “Policy Forum: Transforming Education and Training Systems in Australia” on 15 February, Minister O’Connor said:

“Employment outcomes are important and so is the impact on social well-being and the ability to fully participate in society. Adult and community education has played, and continues to play, an important role in Australia’s education sector. It is a role that is understood and appreciated by many, but not by everyone.

“I want to see it recognised in its rightful place alongside formal schooling, vocational education and training and university. It is important that the adult and community education sector is underpinned by a strong workforce, with practitioners that have the skills they need to support learners to thrive.” (Read the Minister’s presentation here or view on video here.)

CCA staff attended the Policy Forum – Policy & Projects Manager Evelyn Goodwin in person, and CEO Dr Don Perlgut online (see photo below). The Forum was hosted by the Australian Coalition for Education and Development, Adult Learning Australia (ALA), Women in Adult and Vocational Education (WAVE), the Jean Monnet Network on Social and Scientific Innovation on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and the European Union Centre of Excellence at RMIT University.

“CCA is pleased that Minister O’Connor truly recognises the significant contribution the Australian adult and community education sector makes to Australian skills, economic and social development. We look forward to working with the Minister to help him achieve his vision,” said Dr Perlgut.

Other Forum speakers included:

  • Ellen Boeren, Professor of Adult Education, University of Glasgow
  • Craig Robertson, CEO, Victorian Skills Authority
  • Jenny Dodd, CEO, TAFE Directors Australia
  • Jenny Macaffer, CEO ALA
  • Professor Jack Beetson. Executive Director, Literacy for Life Foundation
  • Elaine Butler AM, WAVE Ambassador

The Forum will soon issue a policy statement.

Download a copy of Elaine Butler’s report (with Fran Ferrier), A Fair Go for All? Equity Frameworks and Landmark Documents in Australian Vocational Education and Training, Condensed Review, January 2023.

Photo below: Participants at the Policy Forum, both in-person and online

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