NSW Government commits $1 million to adult and community education providers for infrastructure maintenance

The NSW Government has announced a $1 million investment to help not-for-profit community education providers upgrade crucial infrastructure and training equipment.

Around 30 Adult and Community Education (ACE) colleges across NSW have received crucial funding from the NSW Government in recognition of the services they deliver to disadvantaged students, communities and regions.

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee (pictured) said the funding will see students benefit from upgraded resources and industry standard training equipment.

“ACE colleges support the delivery of training to disadvantaged students who face barriers engaging in mainstream vocational education,” Mr Lee said.

“The funding will allow 30 ACE colleges to expand their online delivery by providing IT equipment, laptops and software as well as upgrading industry‐specific plant and equipment for specialist vocational training.”

Mr Lee said the grants had come at an important time and will help community colleges advance their virtual teaching capabilities thanks to the new IT equipment.

Community Colleges Australia (CCA) CEO, Dr Don Perlgut, said that CCA “welcomed the funding from the NSW Government, a continuation of the Government’s support for the state’s ACE sector. This funding was a response to CCA’s February 2021 Pre-Budget Submission for infrastructure maintenance funding.”

The CCA Pre-Budget Submission

The summary of CCA’s NSW Pre-Budget Submission reads:

Infrastructure investment by the NSW Government in not-for-profit community education providers is an investment in local communities, built by local tradespeople, ensuring these jobs and the associated benefits stay local. People who study with adult and community education (ACE) providers will return to modern facilities designed to provide them with the best skills for a post-pandemic economic recovery.

The current need for economic stimulus in NSW presents an important opportunity to build on the 2019/20 NSW ACE infrastructure maintenance program. Most of the current projects are now complete; the students and their communities have begun to utilise and appreciate this important new infrastructure. To support the NSW Government in delivering targeted economic stimulus, NSW ACE providers have identified practical and “shovel ready” projects that will enhance their ability to provide better quality training to their communities while simultaneously delivering the economic injection into local economies across the state.

Funding will ensure NSW ACE providers have the capacity to undertake appropriate, timely and targeted upskilling and training in professional environments. They will deliver accredited VET and foundation skills to priority groups such as the large number of newly unemployed, small businesses in trouble and other vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

Funding will underpin the operational continuity of the NSW state-wide network of ACE providers, so their training capacity will survive now and thrive in the future. This infrastructure maintenance funding will:
- be delivered quickly to support NSW Government economic stimulus objectives;
- support almost every one of the Premier’s policy priorities;
- support existing NSW jobs throughout the life of each project;
- provide a pipeline of projects for relevant employers to hire staff where required;
- support NSW Government regional economic development efforts;
- align with existing NSW state training and infrastructure policies;
- build on the ability of NSW ACE providers to deliver infrastructure improvements;
- ensure a “long tail” of positive impacts arising from infrastructure investment;
- help NSW ACE providers meet documented building management challenges; and
- provide substantial return on investment to the NSW Government.

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