Three specialist Koorie staff members will be employed at every Victorian TAFE in the biggest expansion of support services for Aboriginal TAFE students in the state’s history.

Member for Werribee Tim Pallas today announced TAFEs in Werribee will be staffed with Koorie Liaison Officers and Koorie Student Support Officers as part of a new $4.2 million Andrews Labor Government program.

The significant expansion of support staff across the sector will grow Aboriginal student participation at TAFE, improve their educational outcomes and help create clearer pathways to the workforce.

SuniTAFE, which has trialled the program since 2017, has already reported an increase in its Koorie student cohort by 100.

The funding will allow every Victorian TAFE to have a full-time Koorie Liasion Officer and two Koorie Student Support Officers from 2021.

Koorie Liaison Officers are employed by TAFEs and dual sector institutes to provide advice and support to learners during their TAFE journey and promote opportunities in the community. Koorie Student Support Officers are trained to understand the support offered by the Institute and Department support systems. Both roles contribute strategically to Aboriginal inclusion, cultural safety and perspectives in the curriculum to ensure providers deliver culturally inclusive training. They also provide support and advice to the TAFE workforce.

This initiative is an important part of the Victorian Government’s Marrung: Aboriginal Education Plan 2016-2026 and is designed to increase the engagement and participation of Aboriginal learners in vocational education and training.

The State Budget includes an unprecedented overall annual investment of $1 billion to ensure Victoria has the training and skills system it needs as it emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney

“This investment will better support Aboriginal students looking to continue or reengage with education and pursue exciting opportunities in their communities.”

Quote attributable to Member for Werribee Tim Pallas

“This program has already proven successful in increasing Aboriginal student engagement at TAFE – it’s exciting to have it rolled out in Wyndham to help support local learners and provide more opportunities to them.”

Quote attributable to Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated General Manager Lionel Bamblett

“We welcome this investment and acknowledge the continued commitment of the Victorian Government to increasing Koorie engagement and participation in vocational education and training. “

Quote attributable to SuniTAFE Dulka Yuppata Koorie Training Centre Manager Simon Fewings

“These changes are long awaited by the VET sector and Koorie community and will help us to raise enrolments, grow our qualification offerings and improve retention, completion and post VET pathways for Koorie learners.”