2017 Learn Local Awards Winners Announced

31 August 2017

A Hadfield man who turned his life around and reskilled after losing his job in the IT industry is among this year’s Learn Local Award winners – announced at a ceremony at Malvern Town Hall tonight.

Unemployed and in his late 50s, Christie Sinclair had almost given up hope of finding work again when he enrolled in the Workskills program at Banksia Gardens Community Services.

At first he was sceptical that the program would help him, but that changed when he rediscovered old skills while refurbishing a classroom for disengaged children as part of the course.

Christie, who is now working full-time at a landscaping company and is planning to enrol in a Master of Business, was one of five winners at the awards, which recognise the contribution to training made by Victoria’s more than 300 Learn Local organisations.

Other winners included Lachlan McKenzie from the Jesuit Community College, who picked up the award for outstanding practitioner, as well as Linking Learning to the Land, a program at Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre that is helping build pathways from unemployment to jobs on farms in East Gippsland.

This year, for the first time, the Adult, Community and Further Education Board also recognised three Learn Local Volunteer Champions for their outstanding dedication and hard work at Learn Local organisations across the state.

The Andrews Labor Government is building a strong and stable training system – ensuring all Victorians – regardless of age, postcode or background have access to high quality training.

Learn Local organisations play a significant role in the community by helping Victorians access the training they need to get a job or to move into further education and training.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney

“I am constantly amazed by the work staff and volunteers do at our Learn Local organisations these awards are a chance for us to say thanks and to recognise all their hard work.”

“Every Victorian, no matter their background, should be able to access training to get the skills they need for the jobs they want. Learn Locals are often the first step on someone’s pathway to employment.”

Quotes attributable to ACFE Board Chair Sue Christophers

“The ACFE Board is proud to support Learn Local organisations and I congratulate the finalists and award winners for their extraordinary efforts and well deserved achievements.”

“The introduction this year of the new Learn Local Volunteer Champion Acknowledgement category recognises the dedication and hard work of those people that we know Learn Local providers cannot do without.”


Ro Allen Award – Recognising Pre-accredited Learner Excellence

Christie Sinclair – Banksia Gardens Community Services

Outstanding Pathways Program

Try a Trade – Diversitat

Outstanding Practitioner

Lachlan McKenzie – Jesuit Community College

Excellence in Creating Local Solutions

Linking Learning to the Land – Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre

AMES Australia Diversity Innovation

Paw Po Products Community Enterprise – Nhill Learning Centre


Learn Local Volunteer Champion

Harry Ashton – Rushworth Community House

Joy Ferguson – Diamond Valley Learning Centre

Melinda Hamilton – Springvale Neighbourhood House

Learn Local Legends

Banksia Gardens Community Services (Nominated by ACFE North Western Metropolitan Regional Council)

Echuca Neighbourhood House (Nominated by ACFE Loddon Mallee Regional Council)

Dandenong Neighbourhood House (Nominated by ACFE Southern Metropolitan Regional Council)

Milpara Community House (Nominated by ACFE Gippsland Regional Council)

Mountain District Learning Centre (Nominated by ACFE Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council)

The Centre for Continuing Education (Nominated by ACFE Hume Regional Council)

Wendouree Neighbourhood Centre (Nominated by ACFE Grampian Regional Council)

Rosewall Neighbourhood Centre (Nominated by ACFE Barwon South Western Regional Council)

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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