A new report from Community Colleges Australia (CCA) highlights how NSW community education providers contribute to the state’s regional and rural economic development. The report concludes that the not-for-profit community education sector constitutes a major economic development resource that has been under-utilised by state, Commonwealth and local governments.
“CCA’s report has been produced to ensure that the NSW Government can use this community capacity, supporting economic development and providing new program models,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CEO of CCA.
The new report highlights three needed changes:
- reducing barriers to participation in government-funded economic development projects;
- including not-for-profit community education providers in multi-sector regional economic development planning activities; and
- increasing the capacity of community education providers themselves to participate in economic development through improved facilities and better access to training.
The report reviews challenges facing the regional NSW economy and the delivery of regional and rural VET, analyses the scope of activities and economic impact of community providers, and includes recommendations that span NSW and Commonwealth regional development programs. The report utilises the results from a survey of all regional and rural community education providers, a forum held at Byron Community College’s Mullumbimby campus and consultations with stakeholders.
“CCA has found innovative ways that our members can add to NSW regional economic development. These include training under-utilised older workers, collaborating with Aboriginal land councils, expanding business incubators, encouraging entrepreneurship and social enterprises, leveraging philanthropy and extending the same opportunities to Western Sydney,” said Dr Perlgut.
“CCA thanks the Deputy Premier of NSW, the Hon John Barilaro MP, and the NSW Department of Industry for their support for this research. We look forward to working closely with the NSW Government to contribute our sector’s capabilities to expand the State’s economic opportunities,” said Dr Perlgut.