Table 1: Performance against output performance measures
Unit of measure
Performance variation (%)
|Number of government-subsidised pre‑accredited module enrolments funded through the ACFE Board|
Key ✓ Performance target achieved or exceeded.
This performance measure relates to the calendar year. The 2022–23 outcome is higher than the target partly due to stronger than expected take-up of shorter pre-accredited training modules in 2022, delivering agile and responsive training.
Participation in Board-funded training
In 2022–23, the Board funded training to 24,595 Victorians through 236 contracted Learn Local providers, including adult education institutions.
This funding provided access to learning opportunities for:
- 5,538 early school leavers
- 634 low-skilled and vulnerable workers
- 479 Aboriginal Victorians
- 7,633 unemployed learners
- 6,158 people with a disability
- 528 disengaged young learners
- 11,746 learners with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Note: Learners can be counted in more than one learner group.
Key initiatives and projects
This annual report describes the key initiatives and projects relating to the Board’s Strategy 2020–25. They are grouped by its 4 strategic priorities, which are:
- our learners
- our partners
- our people
- our Board.
Strategic priority: Our learners
Engagement and confidence-building
- Maintaining – and building on – the core strengths of Learn Local education and training
- Continuing to successfully engage and re-engage adult learners
- Providing supportive, inclusive, flexible learning environments
Skills for further education, training, work, volunteering and life
- Providing access to developing core skills for learners in every local government area
In 2023, learners in Learn Local courses were again included in the VET Student Satisfaction Survey program.
The 2023 Pre-accredited Learner Survey collected data from learners who participated in Learn Local courses in 2022. It had a response rate of 39.3 per cent (6,135 learners).
The survey results were very positive and indicated that in 2022 pre-accredited learners were highly satisfied with the teaching and learning experience:
- 84 per cent indicated that they achieved their main reason for training
- 90 per cent reported satisfaction with course materials and facilities, as well as with the support they received from their trainers
- 87 per cent reported positive perceptions of teaching
- 99 per cent reported a safe, welcoming and culturally appropriate learning environment that factored in the diversity of learners
- 91 per cent would recommend their Learn Local provider
- 90 per cent indicated that they were satisfied with their training
- 92 per cent were satisfied that their provider had identified their learning needs
- 86 per cent were satisfied that their pre-accredited course addressed their learning needs.
Overall, employment outcomes improved for the pre-accredited learners following a Learn Local course, including:
- improved employment outcomes (up by 5.2 percentage points)
- a decline in unemployment (down by 1.5 percentage points)
- no change to the rate of volunteering and unpaid work
- an increase in workforce participation (up by 3.8 percentage points).
About 27 per cent of the learners took Learn Local courses for work-related reasons. These learners experienced the greatest overall improvement in employment outcomes. More than two-thirds of respondents who experienced an increase in employment were in this group. All the respondents who experienced a decline in unemployment were in this group. Almost half of the respondents who experienced an increase in labour force participation were in this group.
During 2022–23, the Board commissioned research to identify which Victorians with low levels of core skills are not engaging in education, training and/or employment, and who would benefit from participating in a Learn Local course. This research drew on the latest Census data to provide up-to-date insights into the socio-economic and demographic trends across Victoria that will inform outreach and engagement activities to engage the most vulnerable Victorians.
In 2022–23 the Board partnered with stakeholders to develop toolkits containing evidence-informed approaches for engaging learners with low levels of core skills from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and Aboriginal people. These toolkits will be made available to Learn Local providers in 2023–24 to guide engagement and delivery approaches that maximise learner success.
Through the Supporting Koorie Self-Determination in Pre-accredited Training project, the Board has partnered with the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association to develop principles and protocols for Learn Locals to increase their capacity to support self-determination for Aboriginal learners and Aboriginal community-controlled organisations in pre-accredited training and other Board-funded programs.
The Board’s Stronger by Design project reflects an ongoing commitment to continuous improvement in meeting Victorian’s core skills needs for study, work and life. Building on research and insights from Learn Local providers and a review of the Pre-accredited Quality Framework (PQF), an enhanced quality framework, PQF+, was developed and tested with Learn Local providers throughout 2023. These enhancements build on the strengths of pre-accredited training and align with changes in the adult education and training landscape over the last few years.
In 2022–23, two pilot groups comprising 22 Learn Local providers co‑designed Learn Local courses that incorporate teaching and learning activities to build learners’ language, literacy, numeracy, employability and digital skills. The providers participated in professional development workshops and are delivering the new courses to learners.
Feedback from the pilot programs is being incorporated into new guidelines, tools and professional development modules that will support the Learn Local sector and adult learners to align their practices with PQF+. PQF+ will be implemented over the coming years to ensure that Learn Local courses provide quality outcomes for learners and put learners’ needs at the centre.
A new Employability Skills initial Check Kit (ESiCK) has been developed to complement the PQF+. The ESiCK tool helps Learn Local trainers to assess employability skills in adult learners who are interested in Learn Local courses.
The ESiCK incorporates processes, tools and forms to help Learn Local trainers to evaluate 6 employability skills in prospective learners, including how learners have used these skills in the past. The 6 employability skills are:
- planning and organising
- initiative and enterprise.
The ESiCK tool is designed to increase the visibility and emphasis of employability skills in teaching and learning activities. The ESiCK tool can be readily adapted for use in the classroom or at the end of a course to evaluate learners’ gains across the 6 employability skills.
The ESiCK tool will roll out in the second half of 2023, supported by a professional development program.
To support greater flexibility for Learn Local providers in training delivery in 2023, the Learner Engagement A-frame Program was retired and replaced with a short module program category within digital skills and general pre-accredited training delivery. This streamlines administration and reporting requirements for Learn Locals.
The new modules focus on engagement as well as digital, vocational and employability skills. They include modules that can be appended to other Learn Local course modules.
The Digital Literacy Skills for Adults program was commissioned by the Board in 2021 to support Victorian adult learners who need entry-level digital skills training to navigate online resources confidently and safely. This is more important than ever in a post-COVID-19 job market, which relies on online tools for people to seek, obtain and maintain employment. The Digital Literacy Skills for Adults program comprises a suite of 13 resources totalling 200 delivery hours. The program is a suite of short modules that can be added to any Learn Local course.
From May to October 2022, modules were completed that focused on digital skills for both jobseekers and the workplace.
Digital skills for jobseeker modules train people to search and apply for jobs online, teach online interview skills and develop understanding of the most popular online jobseeking platforms.
Digital skills for the workplace modules cover productivity tools such as Microsoft Office and Google. Other modules focus on the changing world of work and provide knowledge, skills and information on the gig economy, digital skills for small businesses and point of sale for hospitality and retail workers.
The courses have been quality assured and are mapped to a national benchmark, the Australian Government’s Foundation skills for your future program: draft digital literacy skills framework. They are available for providers on the Learn Local Secure Portal.
In early 2022, the Board approved a project to pilot digital access in libraries. Select Learn Local providers in the Eastern Metropolitan region partnered with libraries to provide access to digital resources and technology through the library network. The project leveraged government investment in local areas via resource sharing, particularly for Learn Local trainers and learners. This work continued in 2023 to ensure quality outcomes.
The Digital access in local libraries collaboration guide for Learn Local providers describes 4 stages:
- Stage 1: Getting started
- Stage 2: Building collaboration
- Stage 3: Activities of the partnership
- Stage 4: Evaluating success.
The guide supports Learn Locals to better utilise digital resources available in the community and increase opportunities for potential adult learners, providing the following benefits:
- enhanced employability skills
- improved self-efficacy
- an increase in active participation in the community.
The Department will roll out a digital access collaboration package containing the guide and associated templates and resources for implementation by 31 December 2023.
The Family Learning Partnerships program supports parents experiencing educational disadvantage who seek to engage in learning. The program aims to build and broker partnerships and strategic collaboration to disrupt the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage.
Research shows that family learning approaches that focus on the needs of parent learners reduce barriers to education and have demonstrated success. High parental engagement in education has a transformative influence on the whole family and leads to positive outcomes for children. The objectives are not only to improve standards of living and wellbeing for the family, but also for children to value and aspire to education if they haven’t in the past.
The program helps families to overcome barriers to participation in training. It provides opportunities for families to engage in positive learning experiences. Families gain the confidence and skills they need to progress to further education or employment.
The program helps families experiencing educational disadvantage by:
- instilling a culture of learning within families and communities and empowering and building the confidence of learners to make informed decisions regarding their own educational and employment experiences
- improving educational pathways for families by addressing barriers to participation in education, training and employment
- facilitating participants’ progression to further education such as pre-accredited or accredited programs or employment where appropriate
- fostering a collaborative approach to education through building provider capacity to form partnerships with other community organisations and services to support pathways to further education and employment for families
- assisting Learn Local providers to gain a better understanding of the unique learning needs of families and the barriers that prevent them from engaging, and to develop initiatives and tailored strategies to support them.
In 2022–23, the Board funded 25 projects across the state that:
- addressed barriers to learning by engaging parents experiencing educational disadvantage
- improved practice in the delivery of pre-accredited training by effectively engaging learners and addressing barriers to learning
- used formal and informal learning activities to help learners to start a pathway to further education and employment
- grew collaborative partnerships between participating Learn Local providers, community-based services and other educational organisations
- developed effective, long-term and sustainable models that can be shared with the sector.
The Board sponsors nationally recognised accredited curricula that supports adult learners to improve their literacy, basic numeracy and general education skills, so they are better prepared to pursue further study, qualifications and work outcomes.
The curricula includes one Course in Initial General Education for Adults and 4 Certificates in General Education for Adults (CGEA).
Training organisations in Victoria are the primary users of the CGEAs but other jurisdictions also have the curricula on scope.
In 2022–23, Victoria University, the Board’s appointed curriculum maintenance manager, continued to provide core services for the CGEA and teacher professional development sessions.
Accreditation of the certificates has been renewed to 30 June 2025.
The Board sponsors and funds an accredited curriculum that supports educationally disadvantaged Victorians to successfully transition into tertiary education and training pathways. The Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation is currently accredited to 30 June 2026.
Strategic priority: Our partners
Partnering and collaboration
- Developing partnerships between Learn Local providers, TAFEs, universities and other parts of the post-compulsory education system
- Developing partnerships between Learn Local providers and employers
- Developing arrangements for non-educational supports for learners from health and community services partners
A priority provider of solutions
- Delivering practical solutions aligned with employers’ needs and Victorian Government priorities
Learn Local providers continue to partner with industry to tailor Learn Local courses with workforce foundation skills, preparing adult learners to work in different industries or retain their jobs as business operations change over time.
Four Learn Local at Work case studies have been finalised and made available to the sector. The case studies demonstrate good practice in partnering with and supporting mutually beneficial outcomes for industry partners, learners, Learn Local providers and local communities.
The Just in Time Learn Local Partnership initiative supports Learn Local providers to partner with businesses whose training needs can be met by a Learn Local foundational skills course. The partnerships provide opportunities for adult learners to improve their employment prospects.
In 2022, 13 projects were completed that co-designed bespoke, business-focused foundational skills courses and other tools for industries facing skill shortages:
- four courses in the construction industry
- three courses in hospitality
- two courses in healthcare and support
- one course each in allied health services, the wool industry, horticulture, and food processing and manufacturing.
About 170 learners participated in the pilot programs. More than 70 learners were employed or were on track to employment within the contract window of 7 to 9 months. Many other learners went on to further study.
Worker learners who successfully completed their pilot course in 2022, reported greater confidence in their work and a better understanding of the job requirements.
The Just in Time initiative continued in 2023. There were a total of 11 provider applications, 8 of which were completed by June 2023. The other 3 will be completed in the second half of 2023.
The number of partnerships between employers and Learn Locals continue to grow as the industry becomes aware of the flexibility and responsiveness of Learn Local courses and adult learners take the opportunity to develop their contextualised foundation skills for employment outcomes.
A guide to help Learn Local providers engage with employers was developed in 2022–23 and will be released in the second half of 2023. The guide draws on experiences and resources generated from Board-funded initiatives to support industry engagement by Learn Local providers, and relevant reports on involving employers in adult education. The guide explains:
- the why and how of engaging employers in Learn Local courses
- levels of employer engagement that can be developed
- different engagement models
- critical success factors for engaging employers in co-design of Learn Local courses.
The guide will be regularly updated with new insights.
In 2022–23, the Board funded a professional development program on engaging employers, which involved webinars and mentoring support. Development of an online learning program is underway with implementation scheduled from September 2023.
In 2023, the Board launched Learn Local industry practice networks. This initiative fosters collaboration between Learn Local providers in building capability to partner with employers to deliver high-quality pre-accredited foundation skills for their learners, leading to job outcomes.
In 2023–24, networks will be established in 3 industries: building and civil construction, aged care, and health support and allied services. There is demand in these industries for workers with core skills for entry-level jobs, and employers in these industries are willing to engage in co-design of Learn Local foundation skills courses.
Strategic priority: Our people
Investing in the Learn Local workforce
- Investing in the professional development of Learn Local leaders and educators
Investing in improved products and tools
- Investing in high-quality learning resources
The Board builds the capacity of the Learn Local workforce through its comprehensive rolling 12-month program of targeted professional development. All professional development activities are planned and developed in accordance with strategic priorities and demonstrated need in the sector.
In 2022–23, a number of successful and highly valued professional development programs were extended. These programs, which build literacy, numeracy and digital skills, knowledge and expertise, are:
- the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Practitioners Program (ALNPP), which builds the skills and knowledge of pre-accredited practitioners delivering literacy and numeracy programs – now completed by over 480 Learn Local trainers
- the ALNPP Professional Learning Network, which extends the literacy and numeracy teaching practice of Learn Local trainers and practitioners through high-quality literacy, numeracy and digital professional learning, mentoring and collaborative learning opportunities
- the ALNPP Koorie module, which develops a stronger understanding of Aboriginal pedagogies and inclusive teaching practice – now completed by 57 Learn Local trainers.
The VET Development Centre (VDC) delivered Board-funded digital skills programs to support Learn Local practitioners and trainers. Participants learned how to use appropriate digital tools for teaching and learning and how to effectively embed digital skills for work into their teaching practice. About 120 trainers and practitioners participated in the programs.
The VDC also delivered professional learning on engaging, supporting and providing pathways for vulnerable learners and building professional leadership skills in financial management, governance and strategic planning.
Victoria University delivered workshops for Learn Local trainers and practitioners on actively engaging learners in real-world, authentic and meaningful project-based learning.
The Small Business Mentoring Service facilitated Board-funded community sessions with Learn Local providers, local industry, local government and other educational and employment services to create pathways for workplace training and job placements. They provided one-on-one mentoring sessions with Learn Local providers to build their readiness for community collaboration and employer engagement.
The Small Business Mentoring Service provided professional learning in pre-accredited business and strategic planning and marketing to potential pre-accredited learners, and followed up with one-on-one mentoring for about 90 managers who participated in the programs.
A priority of the Board for 2022–23 was to consult with Learn Local providers about the professional skills and knowledge held and required by the Learn Local workforce, and develop the Professional Practice Recognition Framework and online tool.
The framework identifies professional practices in providing quality pre-accredited English language, literacy, numeracy, employability and digital skills courses to adult Victorians, to equip them for further study, work and life gains. The framework describes each professional practice in terms that are familiar and useful to Learn Local staff.
Staff can use the online tool to assess their skills and knowledge against the practice descriptors in the framework, identify what they do well and explore areas for personal and career development.
The framework and online tool will be provided to the Learn Local sector in the second half of 2023.
Data on use of the online tool will inform the Board’s decisions about investment in professional development for Learn Local trainers and practitioners. It will support an integrated, long-term professional development approach for the Learn Local workforce.
Recognising and building on the talents of the Learn Local workforce is critical to achieving all other goals for the sector.
Strategic priority: Our Board
Stewardship and governance
- Meeting the expectations and relevant outcomes set out in the Ministerial Statement The future of adult community education in Victoria 2020–25
- Modelling ethical, values-based stewardship and governance
Communicating value and impact
- Championing and communicating the value that the Learn Local sector creates
Over 2022–23 several improvements were made to the governance architecture under which the Board, regional councils and related entities operate. These include amendments to the Education and Training Reform Act to modernise provisions relating to ACFE and to update the strategic functions of the Board. The changes will better position the Board to lead policy responses for the delivery of foundation skills to provide education and training pathways for adult learners, within Victoria’s higher education and training system, and nationally in the context of new federal skills policies and funding agreements.
Following the Strengthening Regional Councils review in the previous reporting period, improvements were made to the operation and support provided to regional councils. In addition, the ACFE system governance guidelines were developed to improve key stakeholders’ understanding of best practice in governance. Following this, bespoke professional development was provided to members of the Board, regional councils and departmental staff on integrity and good governance practices.
The Board’s Brand and Value Proposition project has evolved over the past few years. A 2019 literature review consolidated pertinent research undertaken on behalf of the Board. This resulted in targeted resources, activities and service offers to meet learner needs. Resources were developed to clearly articulate the personality of the Learn Local brand and promote the value and impact of the Learn Local sector to all stakeholders.
The Brand and Value Proposition project has established consistent messaging and has refined communications channels, activities and resources to support strategic directions and raise awareness.
New approaches to sector communications were developed in 2022–23, including a range of promotional material (brochures, fact sheets and analysis of demographic and other statistical data relevant to each region of ACFE). These and other communications and marketing supports were offered to providers to use (including materials translated into the top 10 community languages other than English). Planning and development is underway to create a portal for the sector and others to directly order printed material, merchandise and signage. All platforms and products were reviewed and updated to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Version 2.1.
The Board approved a major marketing and promotional campaign to raise awareness of the sector among potential learners, increase enrolments by priority learner groups and ensure Learn Local is well understood by key stakeholders. The campaign will employ a variety of media and will feature content tailored to local need, with digital, print and other media assets to be rolled out in early 2024.
The Victorian Learn Local Awards promote ACFE by recognising the outstanding achievements of learners, practitioners, trainers and Learn Local providers. They encourage and reward best practice, innovation and high standards. In their sixteenth year, the 2022 awards celebrated the resilience of the Learn Local sector.
Presentations were made to the 2022 award winners at an in-person gala on Friday 24 February 2023. The gala was hosted by Master of Ceremonies Gorgi Coghlan. Prize money totalling $84,000 was awarded to recipients in the following categories:
- The Ro Allen Award – Learn Local Pre-accredited Learner (Skills for Study and Life)
Callum Lydiard, Kew Neighbourhood Learning Centre
- Victorian Learn Local Young Pre-accredited Learner (Skills for Work) Award
Felimon Asel, Prace
- Victorian Learn Local Pre-accredited Trainer Award
Joneen Rattray, The Basin Community House
- Victorian Learn Local Leadership Award
Danielle Hren, Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council
- Victorian Learn Local Pre-accredited Program Award (for small providers)
Practical Music, Bass Coast Adult Learning
- Victorian Learn Local Pre-accredited Program Award (for large providers)
Cultural Cuisines Hospitality Course, Wellsprings for Women
- Victorian Learn Local Innovation Award
Conversation Reading Café class, Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council
- Victorian Learn Local Partnership Award
East Gippsland Learn Locals Collaboration, Buchan Neighbourhood House, Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre, Orbost Education Centre
- The Ro Allen Award – Learn Local Pre-accredited Learner (Skills for Study and Life)
The Board was proud to again sponsor the Victorian Community Training Provider of the Year Award at the annual Victorian Training Awards. The award was open to all Learn Local providers, and was awarded to an organisation demonstrating innovation and excellence in local community education.
The winner was judged on:
- design and implementation of quality training programs that are highly valued by the local community and responsive to learner aspirations
- understanding the local community and how to attract learners facing barriers to participation and attainment in vocational training
- partnerships and participation in broader service delivery within the local community.
Wellsprings for Women was announced as Community Training Provider of the Year at the 2022 Victorian Training Awards. Located in some of the most culturally diverse and marginalised communities in Victoria – Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia – Wellsprings for Women has improved the lives of thousands of vulnerable women since it began in 1994 as a small drop-in group for socially isolated women.
Wellsprings for Women has grown to provide 50 education, employment and support programs for around 500 women and children every week in a safe, encouraging environment where women thrive.
In addition to providing English language and literacy, digital literacy and vocational pathway programs, Wellsprings for Women provides case managed services to women impacted by mental health difficulties, isolation, family violence, poverty and homelessness, to help them overcome complex barriers to education and employment. Services include safety plans, risk assessment, emergency relief, supported referrals and material aid.