MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:33:46): Last month I joined the Minister for Housing, Richard Wynne, and a member for Northern Victoria Region, Wendy Lovell, at the launch of the Education First Youth Foyer evaluation report. Youth foyers provide accommodation and training facilities for young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The evaluation found compelling evidence that youth foyers work in preventing homelessness and ensuring continued engagement in education and employment. Eighty-five per cent of youth foyer participants remain in education, training or work after finishing at the foyer. The success of these foyers was evident in meeting Hayden, Hasani and Kiara, who are at Parliament today. Hayden is studying a bachelor of arts in criminal justice and psychology at Victoria University. He has overcome family circumstances and unstable living arrangements and now is the first person in his family to finish year 12 and go to university. Hasani is studying for a diploma of justice. She has had to leave home due to mental health issues within the home. The foyer has given her access to education opportunities otherwise not possible. Kiara was couch surfing prior to arriving at the foyer and is now studying for year 12 alongside a certificate in aged care. Living at the foyer has created stability for Kiara to complete her studies. While at the foyer I announced to the youth foyer residents the expansion of the Skills First Youth Access Initiative as of 1 July this year. This means that youth foyer residents can access government-subsidised accredited training without tuition fees at TAFEs and Learn Locals with a Skills First VET funding contract. This is just another way that this government is breaking down the barriers for all Victorians to improve their quality of life and create new pathways.
Tags: Ministers Statement