The North East Local Learning and Employment Network (NELLEN) is one of 31 Victorian Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs).
NELLEN’s core objective is to improve education and employment participation, engagement, attainment and transition for all young people aged 10 to 19 years within the geographical boundaries of four local government areas – Alpine, Indigo and Towong shires and the City of Wodonga.
NELLEN achieves this by bringing together education providers, businesses, community and government organisations to facilitate partnerships that particularly focus upon supporting young people who are at risk of disengaging, or who have already disengaged, from education and who have not found an educational, vocational or employment alternative.
Young people in transition
We all go through transitions in life – whether it’s the move from primary to secondary schooling, from education to employment, or from living with family to living independently in another town or city. Sometimes these transitions can be tough – it doesn’t matter how old you are! For many young peoples, however, the transition from school to further education, training, or employment, can be complicated by systemic and personal barriers including:
- early disengagement from education;
- low school retention rates;
- lack of family/community support;
- intergenerational poverty and family unemployment;
- geographic disadvantages – limited employment opportunities, lack of public transport options, high transport costs;
- prohibitive higher education costs;
- low employability skills;
- employer attitudes towards hiring young people;
- personal challenges associated with young people transitioning into adulthood, with its changes in roles, responsibilities;
- cultural issues or experience of racism.
Research has demonstrated education’s tangible social, personal and economic benefits. Though financial stress and low incomes are significant causes of social exclusion, educational disadvantage is also a factor. National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) research has shown that “education’s biggest impact on social inclusion can come from increasing year 12 completion rates and/or completing certificate III qualifications” (p18). “Education begets education”, or so the saying goes – opening young people’s eyes to a range of educational opportunities builds a solid foundation upon which they, and their families, can pursue their own aspirations, achieve wellbeing and social inclusion.
This is at the front of our minds at NELLEN. It is why we strive to build partnerships across sectors to help communities identify and address the complexities around local young people’s access to meaningful learning, training or career opportunities, and to open up new paths to lifelong learning for our young people.