Rotary throws weight behind Learn Locals

Cire Services recently participated in a workshop organised by Rotary District 9810 to explore ways of working together to best meet the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged adult learners in our region.

Cire was among several Learn Local providers (LL) who were invited to attend the session to brainstorm ideas, share experiences including their challenges and how these could be addressed in partnership with Rotary.

In facilitating the session, John Maddock from Box Hill Central Rotary explained that basic education and literacy (BEL) is an area of focus for Rotary.

‘There is a massive need locally to make basic education and literacy accessible particularly to vulnerable and disadvantaged adult learners,’ said John who chairs District 9801’s Basic Education and Literacy Expert Group.

District 9801 extends from Hampton to the Upper Yarra with many of its member clubs working with primary and secondary schools and in the tertiary sector. There is a strong desire to also contribute to the Learn Local sector which delivers pre-accredited and accredited training across a variety of learning topics.

This has been further driven by a 2018 report entitled ‘Future Opportunities for Adult Learners in Victoria – Pathways to Participation and Jobs. The report highlighted the importance of adult education community providers engaging community organisations such as Rotary to help respond to the increasing number of people seeking education pathways but experience non-vocational barriers such as mental health issues and socio-economic disadvantage.

In sharing a snapshot of Cire Training, Business Development Manager, Nina Bekker, said 32,000 hours of training was delivered in 2018 and $300,000 in government funding received.

Nina said the majority of Cire’s LL students were women, looking to return to work. She noted there were an estimated 16,000 small to medium sized business in the Yarra Ranges Shire with most operated by women.

‘One of our greatest areas of need at present is to help improve the literacy of men aged 45 and older who had been retrenched or are unemployed,’ Nina explained.

In addressing the group, John Maddock noted that Rotary had a wealth of expertise within its ranks as well as funding opportunities to help assist LLOs.

Participating LLOs are now considering how best they can work with Rotary to achieve their goals and address identified needs, with plans for the group to reconvene later in the year.

In addition to Cire Training, other organisations represented included Orana at Knox, Kerrie Neighbourhood House, Glen Waverley, Task Force Moorabbin, Cheltenham Community Centre, and Springvale Learning and Activity Centre.

The size and reach of each of the LLOs varied considerably and so too did their challenges and the local needs.

Rotary is the oldest service club in the world, bringing together a global network of volunteer leaders who dedicate their time and talent to tackle the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members from more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both local and international levels.

In District 9801, clubs commit more than $1.5 million every year to local projects.  The combined contribution is valued at an estimated at $10 million when the number of volunteer hours is included.

Cire is one of the first organisational members of Wandin Rotary.

Pictured: John Maddock, Box Hill Central and chair of District 9801’s Basic Education and Literacy Expert Group; Cire’s Nina Bekker;  District Governor-elect Shia Smart, Mont Albert and Surrey Hills and Sue O’Brien, Senior Project Officer, Regional Engagement – North Eastern Victoria Department of Education and Training/Rotarian.