Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program: Empowering Indigenous Australians by improving access to literacy, numeracy, and digital skills
Access to education and training is a fundamental right that should be available to all individuals, regardless of their background or heritage. Recognising the importance of equitable opportunities, the Albanese Government is taking significant steps to bridge the gap and provide better access to literacy, numeracy, and digital literacy skills for Indigenous Australians. Through a comprehensive program called Skills for Education and Employment (SEE), the government aims to empower First Nations Australians by removing barriers to education and training.
The Importance of Foundation Skills
It is disheartening to learn that approximately 20% of Australian adults lack essential literacy, numeracy, and digital skills necessary for securing better employment and participating fully in society. Moreover, for First Nations people, the statistics are even more alarming. It is estimated that 40% of Indigenous adults have minimal English literacy skills, and this figure can rise to a staggering 70% in remote communities like those found in the Northern Territory.
Government Initiatives for Lasting Change
To address these disparities and ensure a brighter future for Indigenous Australians, the Albanese Government has committed $436 million over four years to revamp the delivery of Foundation Skills programs. This substantial investment aims to equip Australians with the core literacy, numeracy, and digital literacy skills necessary for success. As part of this effort, the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program is being redesigned to offer more pathways for training and improvement in language, literacy, numeracy, and digital skills.
Specific Indigenous Stream
Recognising the unique challenges faced by First Nations Australians, the government has introduced a specific Indigenous stream within the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program. This stream will focus on improving Indigenous individuals’ literacy, numeracy, and digital skills. By partnering directly with First Nations community-controlled organisations, the government aims to ensure tailored support and access to training through collaborations with TAFEs, Registered Training Organisations, and Adult and Community Education sector providers.
Expected Impact and Collaboration in the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program
By 2026-27, it is projected that the redesigned Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program will support up to 2,000 First Nations people per year. This represents a significant step toward closing the gap in educational opportunities. The Albanese Government’s commitment to consultation and collaboration is evident in the creation of the Indigenous stream, which was developed in consultation with Indigenous representatives through the Foundation Skills Advisory Group. This collaborative approach ensures that policy decisions are made with the input and perspectives of those directly affected.
Continued Efforts and Extension
To maintain the momentum of progress, the government will extend the Foundation Skills for Your Future: Remote Community Pilots program until June 2024. This extension will benefit communities like Tennant Creek, one of the 11 remote communities where the pilot program is being implemented. The government’s dedication to improving accessibility and equity in education and training is evident through ongoing initiatives and support for communities across the country.
Celebrating Success at Charles Darwin University
Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor recently visited Charles Darwin University (CDU) in Darwin to celebrate NAIDOC Week and witness the positive impact of making education and training more accessible. CDU, a leading provider of vocational education and training in the Northern Territory, plays a crucial role in implementing programs like Foundation Skills for Your Future and the Fee-Free TAFE program. These initiatives are instrumental in addressing the current skills shortage and fostering opportunities for individuals in the region.
The Albanese Government’s commitment to improving access to education and training for Indigenous Australians through the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program is commendable. By recognising the importance of literacy, numeracy, and digital skills, the government is paving the way for a more equitable and inclusive society. Through the redesigned SEE program and targeted initiatives, Indigenous Australians will have the necessary tools to thrive and contribute to their communities. By prioritising consultation and collaboration, the government is demonstrating its dedication to listening to and empowering First Nations Australians on matters that directly affect them.