THE Myrtleford Neighbourhood Centre is one of the big winners out of last week’s Victorian budget.
The State Government’s $21.8million state wide pledge to neighbourhood houses will see a five hour weekly increase to the centre’s hours.
The centre which was funded for just five hours in 2005 will now operate for 25 hours a week.
“It’s massive for us,” manager Jill Graham said.
“The more funded hours we can get the more accessible we can become, to have that reliable staff here and that continuity and consistency here is very important.”
With the added hours the centre will be able to better roll out their flexible learning hub which they’ve been running in partnership with Wodonga TAFE for the past three years.
“It’s going to allow us to offer a wide range of courses to people in the Alpine Shire which is going to be great, people will not have to travel to Wodonga or Wangaratta they will be able to have their training right here,” Ms Graham said.
“We have done Certificate III in children’s services which we will do again, we are also looking at forklift, RSA, food safety, some construction and white card sort of things and also some rural skill set classes.”
The centre will also look to introduce management classes for fledgling local businesses while tourism studies and other popular TAFE courses are now possible options for the future.
“We can assist up and coming small businesses in the area with the financial and marketing side of things,” she said.
“It’s all about being able to up-skill people in the community from wherever they might be.”
The centre also operates a pre-employment course which serves as a starting point for people looking to gain the confidence to enter the work force or accredited training.
Those already in the workforce are also able to use the services to ensure continuity of work and to continually sharpen their skillsets.
“Carter Holt Harvey is the main employer in the town so there are a lot of people working as casuals, we are trying to give them the skills they need to be employed over long periods,” Ms Graham said.
“People won’t have to go do a long-winded Cert III or IV it will more just be the chance for people to pick up the skills they need, it might be chainsaw or some sort of machinery operation.
“We can be a lot more versatile with our offerings and now have that added stability to plan for the future which is very exciting.”
BOOST: Jill Graham (left) and Vicki Burrington are delighted with the Labor government’s recordbreaking commitment to neighbourhood houses.