GUYRA Adult Learning Association (GALA) is set to more deeply engage with those seeking education opportunities after learning it has access to the NSW Government’s 2016-17 $17.8 million additional investment in community training.
GALA executive officer Dorothy Lockyer said the funding would help lower the cost of courses and increase the prospect of people picking up more affordable education.
Local State MP Adam Marshall, announcing the funding package, said it effectively widened the choice of education options in the Northern Tablelands.
“People can choose the best training options available regardless of where they live,” Mr Marshall said.
GALA is part of the ACE Community Service Obligation (CSO) program, introduced by the NSW Government in January 2015, which is designed to target disadvantaged students across the State.
The non-profit, community-owned Association delivers courses in Guyra, Armidale, Walcha, Uralla, Bundarra and Glen Innes.
Mr Marshall commended GALA for doing “an excellent job” of providing training to those who are not able access other education pathways.
The MP explained that ACE CSO funds organisations that are generally small, and well-connected in the community, providing quality training for disadvantaged people to support their transition into further training and jobs, and access to recognised training in regional and remote communities.
The fresh round of funding won’t expand GALA’s geographical footprint, Mrs Lockyer said, but it will help the organisation reach more people, and help them develop the credentials needed for employment.
Mr Marshall said NSW ACE courses also offered other educational, social and civic engagement benefits aimed at removing disadvantage and improving opportunity.
“For example a typical student studying at an NSW ACE provider is twice as likely to have a disability compared to students in other Vocational Education and Training programs – which is why this funding is so important,” Mr Marshall said.
“Courses funded through the NSW ACE program can provide a pathway for foundation skills, pre-vocational or bridging programs to more formal education and work-related training.”
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