Victorian Learn Local Awards celebrate training achievement

remember to thank all the books you haven't read over the past three years A newly-arrived refugee, a foundation-skills program helping migrant mums become volunteers and a community partnership helping disadvantaged young people undertake trade training are among this year‟s Learn Local Award winners.

Higher Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall congratulated the six winners of the 7th Annual Learn Local Awards at a presentation at Federation Square. The winners will share in $45,000 prize money.

“Learn Local is a network of more than 300 not-for-profit organisations across Victoria offering adult community education and training to people from all walks of life, with many of the courses leading directly to jobs or further studies,” Mr Hall said.

“In the past year Learn Local organisations have helped 95,000 Victorians access training leading to job and life skills and employment opportunities.

“One in ten vocational education and training students in Victoria undertake their study through a Learn Local organisation, with the majority enrolling to complete their year 12 or gain Certificate I, II and III qualifications in a wide range of industries, including child care, aged care, disability services and English language studies.

“Many people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, learners with a disability, learners from an Indigenous background and disengaged youth study and train at Learn Local centres, two-thirds of which operate from neighbourhood houses across the state.”

Mr Hall said the life story of this year‟s Outstanding Learner of the Year winner Tha-Hser Bleh Deh reinforced the important role of Learn Local organisations in helping to make a difference in people‟s lives.

“Tha-Hser spent 23 years in a Thai refugee camp before coming to Victoria and beginning his education through Learn Local,” Mr Hall said.

“Now he works at a Learn Local organisation, Nhill Neighbourhood House, where as an education assistant, he works with others from the Karen community to help them to develop new job skills and settle into Wimmera life.”

The Learn Local Awards are supported by the Adult, Community and Further Education (ACFE) Board.

The Coalition Government has invested an extra $1 billion over the next four years to support training and increased support for apprentices and students studying in areas of importance to the Victorian economy.

This year’s Learn Local Award winners are:

Outstanding Organisation – St Kilda Youth Services
A youth services organisation that has helped nearly three-quarters of enrolled students gain a qualification, including young mothers and early school leavers.

Outstanding Learner – Tha-Hser Bleh Deh, Nhill Neighborhood House Learning Centre
After 23 years in a Thai refugee camp, Tha-Hser Bleh Deh is now an education assistant at Nhill Neighbourhood House.

Outstanding Practitioner – Angie Zerella, Living and Learning Nillumbik
Childcare teacher of 27 years is recognised for her dedication and inspiration.

Outstanding Pre-accredited Program – Jesuit Community College
A program delivered at a St Albans school which trains migrant and refugee mums to become volunteers is among the winners at this year‟s Learn Local Awards.

Outstanding Koorie Achievement – Wimmera HUB
A group of Koorie students who created a „deadly ute‟ which has already done an honour lap of the MCG have won a statewide education award.

Innovation in learning – Tools of the Trade, Brotherhood of St Laurence
A community partnership program helping disadvantaged young people „try-a-trade‟ with many going on to pre-apprenticeship programs.

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Image: Natalia Osiatynska via Compfight