An additional $3.8m in funding over four years will boost the state’s Adult Community Education (ACE) program to better connect people to learning and training in their community.

The additional funding, outlined in the ACE Program Statement launched today, comes after comprehensive consultation with 130 current and potential ACE providers, ACE tutors and participants, human services peak bodies and commonwealth and State Government departments.

The consultation identified strategies to strengthen the ACE program including:

  • Improve the foundation skills of adult learners
  • Increase the number of people participating in community based learning
  • Increase the number of people successfully transitioning to further education, volunteering, training and employment
  • Expand ACE services to regions where there is currently minimal provision, and to groups under-represented in the ACE program
  • Provide more support and flexibility for the ACE workforce
  • Reduce red tape.

The ACE Program Statement is being released today alongside the State’s independent Training and Skills Commission’s Skills for Future Jobs 2020 Recognising the Value of ACE in South Australia.

To read the reports, visit: www.tasc.sa.gov.au/TaSC2020Series and www.skills.sa.gov.au/adultcommunityeducation

Background

The ACE program is a significant contributor to the education and training sector, delivering accredited and non-accredited foundation skills training in community centres, neighbourhood houses, libraries and councils.

Earlier this year, the State Government in partnership with Community Centres SA undertook a project to co-design the ACE program for 2018-19 and beyond. As a result, the South Australian Government has increased funding to the sector.

The Training and Skills Commission provides independent, strategic advice to government about the future skills needs of South Australia. It promotes and encourages investment, equity and participation in, and access to, vocational education and training (VET), including pathways from ACE to the VET and higher education sectors.

The Skills for Future Jobs 2020 series explores a range of topics, including the role and value that the ACE sector plays in delivering foundation skills, increasing social engagement and workforce participation.

Quotes attributable to Higher Education and Skills Minister Susan Close

More than 4000 South Australians participated in the ACE program last year and this significant funding boost is expected to see that number continue to grow.

I am very impressed by the comprehensive and deep engagement process which Community Centres SA and the Government have undertaken together, which has resulted in experienced and new voices being heard.

The ACE program has a long and proud history of being the community learning gateway that enables participation in formal learning for people who experience social and economic barriers to learning and training.

This additional funding will support the importance of foundation skills in our community – which are becoming increasingly important in a modern, knowledge-based society – underpinning workforce participation, productivity and social inclusion.

Quotes attributable to Training and Skills Commission Chair Michael Boyce

The ACE sector is of immense value to this state. As well as social and community benefits, the Commission was keen to understand the return on the government’s investment in ACE and subsequently commissioned the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies to undertake this research.

The Commission is particularly pleased to see the value of ACE recognised through an increase in Government expenditure on this fundamentally important service.