MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:17): Recently I was joined by parliamentary secretary Cesar Melhem to celebrate the achievements, resilience and commitment of students, teachers, trainers and industry partners in the Learn Local sector. It was a wonderful gathering of exceptional people. All have worked together in these extraordinary times to empower students to gain the skills that they need to pursue further education or great skills that are aligned to our workforce needs and creating jobs in local communities.
I was proud to also be joined by Ro Allen, a former chair of the Adult, Community and Further Education Board and current Victorian equal opportunity and human rights commissioner, to present Omer Ntunzwenimana with the Ro Allen Award for skills for life and study. Omer epitomises what can be achieved by studying at a Learn Local. He arrived in Australia as a refugee just over three years ago, and in March 2020, when we were all facing the impact of COVID-19, he commenced conversation and reading cafe classes at Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council. In less than two years his confidence and skills grew. He now has been accepted into La Trobe University’s bachelor of arts and is majoring in sociology. Omer’s great learning journey started with his local Learn Local.
I would like to congratulate each and every finalist of the Learn Local Awards for their outstanding achievements in 2021. In 2022 Learn Locals will continue to empower students to create opportunities for people to contribute to Victoria socially, culturally and of course economically.