News and events News Advocacy efforts secure extra Learn Local funding Monday 29 October 2018 Neighbourhood Houses Victoria welcomes Minister for Skills and Training Gayle Tierney's announcement of a further $2.56 million towards Learn Locals. This additional funding will increase the student contact hour rate by 10 per cent for pre-accredited courses. The announcement comes after NHVic, ACEVic, Adult Learning Australia and Community Colleges Australia partnered to form the ‘Coalition for Community Education’, to express concerns about the state of Adult Community Education (ACE) in Victoria, including the implications free TAFE would have on Learn Local providers. In the campaign media release, NHVic CEO Nicole Battle stressed, “Unless something changes and community-based RTOs are given the opportunity to compete on a level-playing field with TAFE, many more of these vital organisations will be forced to close. Not only will this make further education and training inaccessible for some of Victoria’s most vulnerable learners, but it is also likely to result in hundreds of job losses across the state”. A recent example of these closures was the announcement that Campaspe College in Echuca would be closing its doors after 39 years of quality community education. The coalition has also produced a sector statement which was developed in consultation with ACE providers, and will form the basis of our ACE advocacy platform. In early 2019, NHVic will focus on continuing to work with Minister Tierney and her team to ensure that Victoria’s ACE sector is protected and that all of our providers have the resources and support needed to deliver quality outcomes for local learners. We will be hosting a number of forums, targeted at our 200+ ACE providers, with a view to developing a ‘wish list’ that can be used to inform the agenda for a ministerial summit on ACE. In the meantime, NHVic has developed a budget submission that calls on the Government to increase the rate at which Foundations Skills is paid to match the $9.10 pre-accredited student contact hour (SCH) rate, as well as removing the ‘two course rule’. Some 200 neighbourhood houses make up the 300 Learn Local providers which deliver affordable and flexible training and career pathways for some of the Victoria's most vulnerable community members.