Young people in Dandenong will have more access to the training and support they need to get a job thanks to additional funding for early school leavers and the long-term unemployed.

Member for Dandenong, Gabrielle Williams, today announced an extra $969,000 that will support the delivery of the Skills First Reconnect program in Dandenong.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence will receive $584,000 to help create pathways to accredited training for 80 high needs learners from disadvantaged backgrounds living in Greater Dandenong and Casey. They will co-locate the program with the Jobs Victoria Employment Network, and draw on its network of agency partners, to give participants the best chance of success.

Support workers will work one-on-one with participants from disadvantaged backgrounds and marginalised groups with low levels of literacy and numeracy to identify their aspirations, skills and capabilities as well as any barriers preventing them from accessing further training or jobs.

Participants will be supported with training in areas such as literacy, numeracy, digital literacy and work skills, to help them undertake further training and get a job.

Bentleigh-based Task Force Community Agency Inc will also receive $385,000 to deliver the Skills First Reconnect program and support disengaged high-need learners aged 17 – 19 in Greater Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia.

With a particular focus on those impacted by alcohol and drug misuse and mental health issues, Task Force Community Agency Inc will provide 55 young people with the support they need engage with, and complete accredited training. They will also simultaneously develop skills to prepare them for employment or further training in the hospitality sector.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence and Taskforce Community Agency Inc are two of 27 organisations sharing in $19.8 million to support almost 3000 Victorians.

The Skills First Reconnect program is an extension to the Back to Work Reconnect grant program that was funded in 2016 and established in response to a decline in the number of young, early school leavers enrolling in vocational education and training.

The Skills First Reconnect program will expand eligibility to support high needs learners aged between 17-64 years with low levels of prior educational attainment.

Through Skills First, the Andrews Labor Government is overhauling Victoria’s training and TAFE system, guaranteeing funding to secure the future of TAFE and making sure Victorians have the right skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow.