Evelyn and the staff at the Shepparton Adult Community Education (ACE) Centre in northern Vic. haven’t been winning too much in the way of grants etc and are just delighted to be the winners of the PWF coffee comp…They all LOVE coffee, so ‘thank you Eureka Coffee!’ (I won’t get started on my hobby horse ‘the grants system’…)
Jan Phillips, Program Coordinator at Shepp ACE, says their centre grew out of the need for ‘more formal training’ than was provided at the two existing Community Houses in North and South Shepparton. Students range in age from 15 -94!
Some younger students, Jan says, may be shy or have personal problems and just don’t cope coming from small country schools into the large school communities in Shepparton, BUT, at ACE, with VCAL (Vic Certificate of Applied Learning), a recognised ‘hands-on option for years 11 and 12 students, their courses give practical work-related experience, as well as literacy and numeracy skills and the opportunity to build personal skills that are important for life and work.
The current group spends ‘hands-on’ time with cars each week but other groups have had interests such as hairdressing.
For adults who may feel intimidated at the thought of going to TAFE after many ‘non-academic’ years, doing an accredited Certificate at ACE is the way to go. “At least they get through the door”, says Jan.
The student who stands out in Jan’s mind is an ‘ispirational’ young mother of three who, while pregnant with the third, was doing basic literacy and numeracy, wanting to go on and do nursing. She was always there, and always organised – herself and the three kids!
Greater Shepparton in the Goulburn Murray region has a population of around 60,000. It has Victoria’s second highest Aboriginal population outside Melbourne. The Goulburn Valley is known as an ‘inland water playground’ and also a ‘food bowl for Victoria’. I certainly grew up learning about the trio of towns, Shepparton, Ardmona and Kyabram that produced my beloved canned peaches! The region is also known today for its wines and its river heritage of paddlesteamers and houseboats.
Shepparton also hosted Victoria’s 18th annual Women on Farms Gathering in May this year with lots of ‘rejuvenation and relaxation’ before getting on with ‘drought recovery’ work at home.
The Rumbalara Football Netball Club is ten years old this year and Victoria’s only Indigenous sporting club.
Rumbalara which means ‘end of the rainbow’ is the spiritual and cultural home of Goulburn Valley’s Aboriginal community – the people of the Yorta Yorta. An active facilitator of reconciliation and a leader in community wellbeing of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, Rumbalara seeks to enrich the Aboriginal and Greater Shepparton community as a whole.
President Paul Briggs is very highly thought of in the Shepparton community. He accompanied Michael Long on much of his first Long Walk in 2004 and also received the Order of Australia Medal in that year. Paul is also:
– chair of the First Nations Australian Credit Union
– a board member of the Premier’s Drug Prevention Council
– and a Steering Committee member of the Coalition of Australian Governments.