News and events News Learn locally to get ahead Wednesday 3 March 2021 Want to open yourself up to new opportunities by returning to study? The 2021 Learn Local course guides are now available, showcasing a diverse range of training options being delivered by neighbourhood houses and registered training organisations. Learn Local is a network of adult community education providers who receive funding from the State Government to deliver low-cost, pre-accredited training for Victorian adults, primarily from vulnerable cohorts. “There are around 250 Learn Local providers in Victoria and most of them are just small organisations in your local community; in fact two-thirds of them are neighbourhood houses,” Neighbourhood Houses Victoria CEO Nicole Battle said. “They play a significant yet sometimes underrated role in Victoria’s broader education and training system. They may not have the profile of TAFE, but to the thousands of people who attend them, they offer that foot in the door to future employment or further learning.” Nicole said one of the key strengths of Learn Locals was their ability to offer a more personalised and non-intimidating learning experience. “Formal educational institutions like TAFE and universities can be quite intimidating for someone who is still learning English, or for someone who hasn’t had a great experience in mainstream education. Learn Locals are compassionate settings that allow people to learn at their own pace, and are flexible to their needs.” Learn Locals in particular target people where English is a second language, those who have experienced long-term unemployment, people living with disability, or those who did not finish high school. “They help people to upskill in the basics such as English, literacy, numeracy, and digital skills – those core skills we all need to participate in today’s workforce. But many providers go beyond that and offer introductory courses in fields such as community services, childcare, horticulture, hospitality, event management, bookkeeping, floristry – you name it. These short courses provide a taster for potential career paths or future study, giving people direction and setting them on a trajectory.” Some 30,000 Victorians are expected to participate in Learn Local courses in 2021, and Nicole believes the sector will play a vital role in the COVID-19 recovery effort. “As we start the economic recovery, the role of Learn Locals will be significant because there are many Victorians who’ve lost employment and will need to reskill. Adult education is just one way neighbourhood houses will do a lot of the heavy lifting as we start to rebuild our state.” To access the 2021 Learn Local course guides, visit the Learn Local website. Pictured above: Learn Local provider Sandybeach Centre, whose mentoring program aims to empower adults with a disability to find employment or volunteering opportunities.