Youth Education Local Issues

Echuca Students At Risk From Labor’s VET Cuts

25 September 2015

School-based vocational education and training (VET) and VCAL in Echuca is in jeopardy as a result of funding cuts by the Andrews Labor Government.

Member for Murray Plains and Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said Daniel Andrews had axed funding for Echuca’s workplace learning coordinator.

“Echuca’s local coordinator assist students undertaking training at schools, TAFEs or registered providers to find work placements each year,” Mr Walsh said.

“This ensures students are job-ready and connected with local industries that need skilled workers.

“Since Labor came to government youth unemployment across the Hume region has risen at an alarming rate of 6.2 per cent to 19.4 per cent, while in the Shepparton region which includes Echuca, it is sitting at 15.4 per cent.

“Labor’s decision to axe this practical support just doesn’t make sense when young people in our region are finding it so hard to find work.”

Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan has called on Daniel Andrews to immediately continue the program.

“The workplace learning coordinator is tasked with assisting students from Echuca schools to find work placement,”  Ms Ryan said.

“I am particularly concerned that students who are disadvantaged or at risk will fall through the gaps if this program is not continued.

“Disengaged students are less likely to have knowledge about employment or an understanding about pathways available.

“Many do not have a cultural understanding about what is expected or acceptable in the workplace and are likely to fall through the gaps because schools do not have the time or resources to arrange placements.”

Mr Walsh said the Liberal-Nationals Government provided $5.1 million to fund the work of these coordinators across the state but Daniel Andrews has refused to continue funding for them.

“The reality is that coordinators organise a lot of the important business/school interactions to encourage and source employment opportunities.

“Teachers and employers do not have the time or the resources to pick up the extra work of these coordinators if their funding is cut,” Mr Walsh said.

An evaluation found work experience participants were 75 per cent more likely to pursue further training or go on to secure employment than those who had not taken part.



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