SOUTH-WEST mayors have backed calls for the state government to commit funding to Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs).
In a joint statement, Warrnambool’s Michael Neoh, Moyne’s James Purcell, Corangamite’s Chris O’Connor and Colac Otway’s Lyn Russell have thrown their support behind South West LLEN, calling it a long-term achiever in helping young people across their municipalities. “SWLLEN provides a critical link between the broader community and young people which is vital to assisting overall improvements of economic growth for the region and tackling the increasing youth unemployment rate,” the mayors said in the statement.
“LLENs are trusted local organisations across Victoria that provide transition and employment outcomes for young people.
“No other organisations are as uniquely positioned to undertake this work.” Federal government funding for a core LLEN program — school business community partnership brokers — will cease in December, but South West LLEN is hoping the state government will step in to help.
The state government funded the program for the past 13 years and the federal government has assisted for the past four years.
However the LLENs across the state will focus on the state government in the hopes of securing funds to keep the program running.
The program was part of the work South West LLEN does to ensure “our young people in Victorian regional and rural areas are not left behind and young people are building strong links with educational providers and local employers”, the south-west mayors said.
South West LLEN chairman Mike Holland thanked the mayors for their support.
Mr Holland said the organisations would continue to lobby the state government for funding.