Victorian Government announces emergency funding to support TAFE and Learn Local providers

The Victorian Government today announced emergency funding that will support the state’s TAFE and Learn Local sector, the adult and community education (ACE) providers.

The announcement by Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) follows:

Victorians will continue to get the skills they need to get a job and help us through the Coronavirus crisis, with emergency funding from the Victorian Government to support the state’s TAFE and training system with student numbers expected to drop.

Premier Daniel Andrews, Deputy Premier James Merlino and Minister Gayle Tierney today announced the $260.8 million package, which includes a $191.9 million guarantee to lock in funding at expected pre-COVID-19 levels and an additional $68.9 million in crisis support to ensure Victoria’s public training system can respond and recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Like universities and other higher-education providers, the economic impacts of Coronavirus have hit the training sector hard. International students are no longer able to enter the country and many other students can’t pay their fees. The funding will help our TAFEs and training providers transition to delivering more online and remote learning, keep staff on, and continue teaching skills that will be critical in the fight against Coronavirus.

Free TAFE is already providing a pipeline of nurses and other essential health care workers. Through the Working for Victoria program more than 685 people have already completed free short courses in food hygiene and cleaning, with more courses in fields like infection control and first aid coming online this week.

Keeping TAFE running also means construction and other industries still operating in Victoria can continue to have access to new apprentices and cadets – so they can keep delivering infrastructure and services which will be vital to our economic recovery.

The package will provide TAFEs, dual sector TAFEs, Learn Local providers and AMES Australia across Victoria funding certainty until at least the middle of the year. Together, these providers teach around 330,000 vocational and community education students.

The funding builds on the Government’s $1.7 billion economic survival and jobs package – which has already provided more than $400 million in payroll tax refunds, $65 million in business support grants and found new jobs for more than 1,500 people through Working for Victoria.

The Government will keep working with TAFE and training providers to ensure Victorians continue to get the skills our economy needs most, and we stand ready to invest more to support the sector if necessary.

Comment from Community Colleges Australia (CCA)

“CCA welcomes the Victorian Government’s commitment to providing COVID-19 relief funding to the state’s public TAFE and not-for-profit Learn Local providers. This virus emergency has profoundly affected the ability of all Australian ACE providers to continue to serve their communities,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CEO of CCA.

“Learn Local groups disproportionately represent the most disadvantaged and vulnerable residents in the state; many of them rely on face-to-face training sessions that have been particularly hard hit by the ‘social distancing’ regulations.

“CCA will continue to work with Victorian ACE peak organisations – ACE Victoria, Neighbourhood Houses Victoria and Adult Learning Australia – to ensure that Victorian ACE learner groups receive the best possible support. We look forward to receiving more details on the direct assistance forthcoming to Learn Local providers,” said Dr Perlgut.

Read the Victorian ACE Peaks Media Release from ACE Victoria, Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, Adult Learning Australia and CCA.

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