darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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December 14, 2009

Workways East Gippsland will receive $400,000 to target the region’s low year 12 retention rates and support teenagers into employment.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester congratulated Workways on being awarded the Federal Government Youth Connection contract of $400,000 over four years for the East Gippsland region.

“The funding will be used to support teenagers aged 13 to 19 years to stay at school longer and to re-engage them in educational opportunities with the goal of achieving year 12 or equivalent,” Mr Chester said.

“Workways has a long-standing record of delivering high quality services for Gippsland and the organisation is well placed to tackle the challenges of school retention rates.”

Mr Chester said Gippsland had lower incomes and higher levels of unemployment than the state average, which is linked to low educational attainment.

“Adult, Community and Further Education (ACFE) statistics show only 46% of Gippsland residents have achieved year 12 completion and around half has a post-school qualification,” Mr Chester said.

“I have no doubt that our young people are smart enough and have the ability to compare with the rest of the state – so this must come from disadvantage: the cost of education, the ability of families to support students through school,  the cost of university and providing aspiration for our students.

“The key to future success is encouraging our young people to place a high value on education and achieving their best.”

Kylie Coverdale, Youth and Indigenous Services Program Manager, said Workways already offered job placement and training services and indigenous employment and training and had a long history of providing youth services.

“We have a really successful history of working with youth and have been the number one provider of working with youth across Australia for the last three years through the Youth Pathways program,” Ms Coverdale said.

“We’re really excited about taking on the new program and having some successful outcomes with our youth over the next four years.”

Workways also won similar contracts in North-East Victoria and the North East Tracks region.

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