Youth employment network welcomes funding promise

NELLEN’s Cain McDonald and the opposition’s Steve Herbert discuss youth education and training. Picture: DAVID THORPE

NELLEN’s Cain McDonald and the opposition’s Steve Herbert discuss youth education and training. Picture: DAVID THORPE

A BORDER group dedicated to improved learning outcomes and employment opportunities for young people has welcomed a four-year funding promise from the Victorian Labor opposition.

The North East Local Learning and Employment Network (NELLEN) is one of 31 networks across Victoria to have received $10 million from the federal government and $2.3 million from the Victorian government for this year.

But from January, funding for the networks will become the sole responsibility of the Victorian government.

The Coalition has announced it will increase funding for Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs) by $5.7 million next year to $8 million, while Labor has announced an election commitment to provide the LLENs with $8 million each year for the next four years.

Opposition education spokesman Steve Herbert yesterday confirmed that if elected in November, a Labor government would provide $32 million over four years.

NELLEN chairman Cain McDonald said funding was critical to ensure “our job of engaging youth continues beyond this year”.

“This is a great level of funding for us to continue the work we are doing at the moment,” he said.

“The funding announcement is particularly welcome after the latest jobless figures showing the unemployment rate for 15 to 19 year olds is at a 17-year high of 20 per cent.

“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.”

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 had been co-funded by the Victorian and federal governments between 2010 to 2014.

Mr Herbert accused the Napthine government of sitting on its hands.

“We were waiting for the government to do something and they haven’t,” he said.

“One year funding is just an election con job from the government.

“The government really need to stand by what they are doing, be serious and provide the same commitment that Labor has to four-year funding.”

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