Learn Local Award Winners 2018

Winners for the 2018 Awards

The Minister for Training and Skills, the Hon Gayle Tierney MP, announced the winners of the 2018 Victorian Learn Local Awards at a celebration of the Learn Local network on Thursday 30 August 2018.

The awards recognise excellence in the Learn Local network across seven categories with winners sharing in a total prize pool of $62,000.

This year’s winners were:

The Ro Allen Award: Recognising Pre-accredited Learner Excellence

David Hayes, Kew Neighbourhood Learning Centre

David Hayes had been jobless for several years while caring for his sick partner. When he first came to the Kew Neighbourhood Learning Centre (KewNLC), social isolation had left him feeling somewhat ‘stir crazy’. It was time for him to upskill and re-enter the workforce.

The positive impact of joining the classes was instantaneous; David transformed into a keen learner.  To update his technology skills, he participated in the 2017 Workplace Technology course covering Microsoft Office applications, touch typing and social media. But he got so much more from the experience than technical skill. David flourished into a confident, proactive KewNLC team member, made new friends, built employment networks, grew his communication and problem-solving skills, and pursued further training opportunities.

Volunteering at KewNLC led David to part-time employment in a support position and in 2019, he’ll enrol in the Certificate IV in Disability to qualify him for disability support work.

Victorian Learn Local Young Pre-accredited Learner Award

Aymee Schofield, Noweyung Ltd

Aymee Schofield was unemployed and considering a career in nursing but she was unsure of herself and lacked confidence. Then, everything changed when she saw an ad in the local paper for the Kick Start your Career in the Health Sector course, an eight-week pre-accredited health program. Aymee jumped at the opportunity.

The whole experience gave Aymee a new lease on life. Through first-hand exposure to many areas in the hospital environment, including nursing, allied health, administration, food services and cleaning, Aymee was empowered to make that important decision.

She was enthusiastic and highly engaged with her studies and when it came to her traineeship interview, she spoke confidently about her knowledge and understanding of Central Gippsland Health services. Aymee’s traineeship in the Human Resource Department is well underway now, as is her Certificate IV in Business. In addition, she’s made new friends and has strong ties with the community.

Victorian Learn Local Pre-accredited Pathway Program Award

Prepare for Work – Service Stars, Kensington Neighbourhood House

And they’re off and running, be it for the Spring Racing Carnival at Flemington Racecourse or the opening of AFL season at the MCG, the Prepare For Work – Service Stars program helps some of our most vulnerable citizens gain paid employment within the hospitality industry.

Service Stars is a two-week, 60-hour pre-accredited course with a direct pathway to employment. The courses are timed to link with major events so learners can put their new skills into practice while earning award rate wages.

Providing everything’s gone well, participants can decide to stay on the employers’ books. A Sudanese mother of eight children had never been to school. Undertaking the Service Stars course gave her an introduction to hospitality and the confidence and skill to apply for a permanent position.

Of the 32 learners participating in the training, 25 are now employed and most of the others have undertaken further study.

Victorian Learn Local Practitioner Award

Robyn Spandonide, Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services

Empathetic, inclusive and kind, with a great sense of humour is how colleagues describe Robyn Spandonide, English Program Coordinator at Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services. The majority of people attending her classes are women from refugee backgrounds who haven’t been educated or employed in their country of origin, let alone Australia.

Robyn is passionate about helping them achieve excellent outcomes and developing confidence. In a safe, nurturing and, at times, amusing environment – Robyn even sometimes acts out her lessons in mime. The Starting Work in Australia program supports the development of conversational English and provides a sound understanding of employment obligations and rights.

Building relationships and connections are at the core of the programs Robyn develops. There are lots of excursions and guest speakers to familiarise students with different opportunities, and the majority of her students find work quickly with the assistance of JobActive consultants. In 2017, more than 70 per cent gained employment.

Victorian Learn Local Creating Local Solutions Award

Kick-Start your Career in Health, Noweyung Ltd

It’s forecast that by 2020, the Gippsland region health sector will experience staffing increases of 18 per cent across all services. Couple this with current regional skill shortages and unemployment rates, and there’s an opportunity for change. The Gippsland Regional Council project, Strengthening Pathways for Adult Learners in Gippsland, has this conundrum covered.

In a Gippsland first, Learn Local Noweyung Ltd partnered with Central Gippsland Health to develop an eight-week pre-accredited and customised health program giving unemployed/underemployed people first-hand experience of the health industry. The program pathways into accredited education and employment.

Results to date are outstanding. Students are skilled-up in areas including communication, literacy and financial literacy. Hospital staff volunteer their time to provide demonstrations and activities such as laughter yoga for stress management. Students are reporting that they got more out of it than they imagined. Out of 15 enrolled students, 14 went on to further studies or gained employment.

Victorian Learn Local Collaboration Award

Manningham Learns – A Strategic Alliance: Pines Learning, Park Orchards Community House and Learning Centre and Living and Learning @ Ajani

This is a success story about five neighbourhood houses in Manningham; Warrandyte, Park Orchards, Wonga Park, Pines Learning and Living, and Learning @ Ajani. As a networking cluster they struggled with cohesiveness. They knew that improved collaboration would create better outcomes for their operations and clients, but they didn’t know how to achieve it.

Via government funding, they employed a facilitator to work towards a strategic alliance. It became clear that everyone had the same vision, which was to service the community well. They established the foundations of Manningham Learns and built trust and enthusiasm for the next phase of implementing an alliance.

Great strides were made in a short timeframe. Now, Manningham Learns is a strong entity providing diverse and affordable accredited and pre-accredited courses across five locations. The alliance inspired wider recognition and interest, and its involvement is sought to contribute to working groups, forums and expos.

Learn Local Legends

  • North Western Metropolitan Regional Council of ACFE – Preston Reservoir Adult Community Education (PRACE)
  • Loddon Mallee Regional Council of ACFE – Bendigo Neighbourhood Hub
  • Southern Metropolitan Regional Council of ACFE – Springvale Learning and Activities Centre (SLAC)
  • Gippsland Regional Council of ACFE – Heyfield Community Resource Centre
  • Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council of ACFE – Glen Park Community Centre Inc.
  • Hume Regional Council of ACFE – Tatura Community House
  • Grampians Regional Council of ACFE – Nhill Neighbourhood House
  • Barwon South Western Regional Council of ACFE – Diversitat

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!