Learning local transforms lives

​2017 Learn Local Awards

'I suddenly found there was something else I could do and it has opened up a whole new world to me.'

Overcoming disadvantage and transforming lives through education were the key themes celebrated at this year’s Victorian Learn Local Awards.

The awards recognise the contribution to training made by Victoria’s more than 300 Learn Local organisations.

Embedded in local communities, Learn Local organisations help people who might be looking to improve their literacy, learn a skill, return to work or study or develop their English-language abilities.

Five winners and three Learn Local Volunteer Champions were recognised for their outstanding efforts as learners, practitioners and training providers.

The Ro Allen Award

Winner of the Ro Allen Award, Christie Sinclair, was recognised for showcasing how reskilling can open up new job opportunities and prospects.

Mr Sinclair says Learn Local was recommended to him after he tried unsuccessfully to get back into the workforce following a successful battle against cancer.

'I suddenly found there was something else I could do and it has opened up a whole new world to me,' he says.

'Now I get to give back because I am helping people who are in the same position I was in two years ago.'

Mr Sinclair says he was overwhelmed when announced the winner.

'When I got up there on stage I thought it was a bit like the Oscars - this is big - and I’m blown away to win it,' he says.

'It was nice to be honoured to be recognised for what I have achieved.'

Outstanding Practitioner Award

Lachlan McKenzie from the Jesuit Community College won the Outstanding Practitioner Award.

Lachlan says winning the award is confirmation he must be doing something right. The award also recognises the long and often hard journey his students take.

'Sometimes it just takes giving them a bit of a shove and getting them to think differently about the opportunities that are out there,' he says.

'It is amazing to see that transition at the end of the course and see how far they have come and their confidence lift.'

Learn Local in the Education State

Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney and Ron Wilson, Deputy Chair of the Adult, Community and Further Education (ACFE) Board, recently announced the winners at a special ceremony.

This year, the new category 'Learn Local Volunteer Champion' was introduced to recognise the outstanding dedication and hard work of volunteers at Learn Local organisations across Victoria.

The Victorian Government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the training and TAFE system, along with the introduction of Skills First, to benefit individual students, industry and communities.

2017 winners - full list

Ro Allen Award - Recognising Pre-accredited Learner Excellence

Winner: Christie Sinclair - Banksia Gardens Community Services

Outstanding Pathways Program

Winner: Try a Trade - Diversitat

Outstanding Practitioner

Winner: Lachlan McKenzie - Jesuit Community College

Excellence in Creating Local Solutions

Winner: Linking Learning to the Land - Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre

AMES Australia Diversity Innovation

Winner: Paw Po Products Community Enterprise - Nhill Learning Centre

Learn Local Ackowledgement Awards

Learn Local Volunteer Champion

  • Harry Ashton - Rushworth Community House
  • Joy Ferguson - Diamond Valley Learning Centre
  • Melinda Hamilton - Springvale Neighbourhood House

Learn Local Legends

  • Banksia Gardens Community Services (Nominated by ACFE North Western Metropolitan Regional Council)
  • Echuca Neighbourhood House (Nominated by ACFE Loddon Mallee Regional Council
  • Dandenong Neighbourhood House (Nominated by ACFE Southern Metropolitan Regional Council)
  • Milpara Community House (Nominated by ACFE Gippsland Regional Council)
  • Mountain District Learning Centre (Nominated by ACFE Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council)
  • The Centre for Continuing Education (Nominated by ACFE Hume Regional Council
  • Wendouree Neighbourhood Centre (Nominated by ACFE Grampian Regional Council
  • Rosewall Neighbourhood Centre (Nominated by ACFE Barwon South Western Regional Council)    

More information

To learn more about the award winners, see: Victorian Learn Local Awards