RIPON hopefuls from both sides of the political spectrum have stepped forward to show their support for their parties commitments to provide funding for Local Learning Employment Networks (LLENs) beyond 2014.
The Nationals candidate, Scott Turner, applauded last week's Coalition Government announcement of $8 million in funding to secure the continuation of the organisation's programs next year.
While Labor candidate, Daniel McGlone's vote of confidence came in the form of a visit to Central Grampians Local Learning Employment Network's (CGLLEN) Ararat office to discuss his party's pledge of $32 million over four years.
Mr McGlone met with CGLLEN executive officer, James Skene to tell him that any uncertainty about the future of LLENs that still exists as a result of the Coalition's promise will disappear if Labor is elected in November.
"Labor's commitment is not a short term fix, it guarantees funding for the LLEN for the next four years," he said.
"It also demonstrates Labors commitment to community based agencies that engage disadvantaged youth directly.
"Agencies like the CGLLEN re-intergrate disaffected youth back into education, back into employment and back into the community."
Mr McGlone called on the Coalition to demonstrate the same level of support for young people as Labor did through its announcement.
"Pay now or pay later," he said.
"Social disadvantage doesn't magically go away when you cease to appropriately respond to it and neither does the cost.
"I have come to appreciate the work and the positive outcomes organisation like the CGLLEN are able to achieve with young people and I recognise they do this operating on extremely limited resources."
LLENs were jointly funded by state and federal governments until May when the Commonwealth announced as part of its budget it would withdraw its $11 million funding share.
Mr Turner said the current government's announcement is great news for students in Ripon and demonstrates a genuine appreciation of the valuable work the LLENs do in preparing students for the workplace.
He said it is further evidence of the Napthine Government's commitment to building a better education system for Victoria.
"The Federal Government's decision to discontinue its funding support for the LLEN program caused a lot of angst locally," he said.
"As a mentor in the LLEN program I have firsthand experience of the difference it can make to young people. There are kids who struggle to fit in to the structure of a school system.
"By bringing business, the community and schools together the LLEN offers alternative options for students and assist them to gain the skills and experience they need to find employment.
"I am extremely passionate about jobs for young people and this commitment by the Coalition government is something I have been lobbying for."