MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (11:08): Today I would like to acknowledge the contributions of the adult community education sector. Adult Learners Week has just taken place, and it puts the spotlight on a sector that changes lives. In Victoria we are dedicated to an education system that delivers excellence and reduces the impact of disadvantage. Adult education is not an add-on to the system; it is absolutely central to it. Engaging, relevant and accessible adult education gives people the core skills they need to find a job, pursue further study and participate fully as proud members of the community.
I have visited many Learn Locals over the years, and I have always been so impressed. I have been privileged to meet students who demonstrated a digital literacy pre-course that they had co-designed. This lived experience is an important part of adult education. Teachers who were once students are now driving many outstanding programs. I have met many young Victorians who left school early and rediscovered a love of learning through adult education. It builds confidence and creates pathways. In these very tough times, adult and community learning has been the lifeline for many people. Our Learn Locals are critical to supporting at-risk Victorians as they engage in social and economic participation. They are the key to addressing the digital divide.
I am proud that this government recognises the importance of this sector. Adult Learners Week is a time to acknowledge the enormous contributions of all adult education teachers and trainers and to celebrate the achievements of all adult learners. Together we are working to ensure access to quality education that changes lives for so many in our society.