CENTRAL Grampians Local Learning Employment Network (CGLLEN) has welcomed a commitment from the state Labor opposition, that if elected in November it will reinstate funding for Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs) across the state.
Labor’s commitment would see $32 million over four years injected back into LLENs programs which support young people at risk of disengaging, or who have already disengaged from education and training.
CGLLEN executive officer, James Skene said the funding is vital to ensure the important work to support youth in communities including Ararat and Stawell continues beyond this year.
“Our work has proven vital in improving outcomes for young people by increasing education and job opportunities for them, particularly those at risk of disengaging, or who have already disengaged from education and training and are not in meaningful employment,” he said.
In making the announcement, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Skills and Apprenticeships, Steve Herbert said since the last state election in 2010 LLENs across Victoria have assisted about 250,000 young people who were at risk of disengaging, or who had already disengaged from school, training or work.
Mr Herbert said every year, LLENs facilitate and monitor more than 850 partnerships between schools, training organisations, employers and community agencies.
“LLENs are critical to communities right across Victoria and are a resource that we cannot afford to lose,” he said.
"Denis Napthine has deserted young people in search of skills and employment, the services that matter to a young person wanting to get the skills they need for the job they want, have vanished.
"Labor's commitment will ensure that young people have access to a service that supports them in a time of high unemployment."
LLENs are made up of a range of groups and organisations including education, training providers, business, industry, community agencies, and parent and family organisations.
They have been co-funded by the Victorian and federal governments from 2010 to 2014, however from next year, funding will be the responsibility of the Victorian government alone.
Chair of the LLEN Chairs Network, Mike Grogan said the Labor party's commitment was timely given last week's release of employment figures which showed a rise in youth unemployment.
"The Labor party funding announcement is particularly welcome after the latest jobless figures showing the unemployment rate for 15-19 year olds is at a 17 year high of 20 per cent," he said.
Acting Chair of the State LLEN Network, Boyd Maplestone has called on the sitting Coalition government to match Labor's election commitment.
"This decision by the state Labor party secures the future of the LLENs in Victoria and will enable the LLENs to continue to assist younger Victorians into employment pathways, if Labor is elected at the upcoming state election," he said.
"The LLEN Network is encouraged by this decision and is also seeking support from the current government to commit to the long term future of LLENs.
"Our work has proven vital in improving outcomes for young people by increasing education and job opportunities for young people, particularly those at risk of disengaging, or who have already disengaged from education and training and are not in meaningful employment."