What We Do & Our History
What is Future Connect Inc (formerly the Brimbank/Melton Local Learning & Employment Network (BMLLEN) and what do we do?
Future Connect Inc is a not-for-profit membership based organisation that works at the grass roots level to assist young people to complete Year 12 or its equivalent and improve transition and vocational outcomes for young people in the Brimbank and Melton area.
Future Connect is one of 31 Local Learning and Employment Networks across the State and is funded by the State Government. Future Connect aims to broker sustainable partnerships between schools, business/industry, community groups and parents to improve educational outcomes for young people.
Future Connect Role
- Broker strategic, sustainable partnerships that support improved education and transition outcomes for young people, including increasing Year 12 or equivalent attainment rates.
- Use it’s knowledge of the region to influence strategic planning and broker partnerships among key stakeholders to improve education outcomes and support young people to remain engaged, or re-engage, in education or training and realise their social and economic potential.
- Create partnerships for the benefit of young people across all government, Catholic and other non-government education and training sectors within the Brimbank/Melton area, particularly those experiencing high levels of disadvantage.
In 2000 the Minister for Post Compulsory Education and Training, the Hon. Lynne Kosky, expressed concern over the number of young people who did not seem to be well served by existing services, many "falling through the cracks". Too many had not been succeeding at school or dropping out, not continuing with further education and not gaining sufficient skills to meet the needs of employers.
The subsequent "Kirby Report" heard submissions from all over the state, including representatives from Brimbank and Melton. It was felt that the Kirby Report should support the idea of local actions for local needs, linking agencies and cutting bureaucratic red tape to work for young people. The Report recommended the formation of Local Learning and Employment Networks. The Brimbank/Melton LLEN formed in 2002, funded by the State Government.
In 2009, the Victorian Government negotiated with the Commonwealth Government to have the LLEN-inspired School Business Community Partnership Brokers National program built into the work of the 31 LLENs in Victoria. This became the Enhanced Contract for 2013-2014 and broadened the work of the LLENs by:
- Making the focus age for the LLEN 10-19 years of age instead of 15 to 19
- Emphasising the role of parents and families in any approaches to improving outcomes for disadvantaged young people
- Emphasising the role of career advice and development
For 2014, the Commonwealth Government extended the Partnership Broker funding for 12 months with a "Deed of Variation" signed with the State Government for 2014. The funding model for LLENs for 2014 was made up from 85% Federal and 15% State funding. Late in 2014, Senator Scott Ryan informed all 31 LLENs in Victoria and the 76 Partnership Brokers nationally, that the Federal Government would no longer fund the program.
The State LLEN Network focused lobbying activity on the Victorian State Liberal/National Party and State Labor, given it was an election year. By August, both political parties agreed to fund the Statewide LLEN Network: Liberal/National - 1 year, $8million & Labor - 4 years, $8million. Both funding offers reduced funding to BMLLEN by 51%. This has had significant implications for LLEN effectiveness as the contract funding triggered a staff redundancy process at BMLLEN. The contract deliverables changed significantly as follows:
1. Developing school/industry partnerships that support workplace learning opportunities
2. Broadening the applied learning opportunities available to students.
3. Supporting schools with careers related strategies that raise awareness and knowledge of career opportunities in growth industries, consistent with the Career Curriculum Framework.
During 2015 the State Labor Government extended the LLEN commitment by a further 12 months, i.e. 2016-2019. 2015 was an "interim year" with different contract deliverables, i.e.
- developing school/industry partnerships that support the expansion of workplace learning
- broadening the applied learning opportunities available for students
- supporting schools with careers related strategies, including for Year 9 and 10 students, that raise awareness and knowledge of career opportunities in growth industries consistent with the Careers Curriculum Framework
- supporting schools to engage, both geographically and by industry, with business and industry stakeholders
- supporting the transition to new arrangements for school/industry engagement in 2016
The 2016-2017 contract had a more specific focus on disengaged or disengaging young people, i.e. support schools to:
- identify young people that are at risk of disengaging from education prior to completing Year 12 or a vocational equivalent
- identify and provide the support, education options and pathways to enable those young people to remain in education
support the broader community to:
- identify young people who have disengaged from education prior to achieving Year 12 or a vocation equivalent
- provide support, education options and pathways to enable those young people to re-engage and remain in education
Also in late 2015, the State Government announced that the Statewide LLEN Network was awarded the "Structured Workplace Learning" contract. For the first time in its history, BMLLEN moved into the service delivery field. Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) funding was provided to 31 Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs) across Victoria to increase access to appropriate SWL placements for students undertaking VET as part of their senior secondary certificates. In 2016, funding was provided to LLENs to:
- facilitate access to appropriate SWL placements for students undertaking VET as part of their Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) and School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs)
- facilitate engagement between schools and employers, and support schools to work directly with employers to place students into SWL placements
- liaise with employers and maintain information on the online portal to ensure it is current and meaningful
- identify local needs and industry priorities for appropriate SWL placements
- source local SWL placements for difficult to place students
- collaborate with schools and other service providers to provide young people with holistic, integrated support to assist them to engage, and re-engage, in education and training.
LLENs in Victoria now have a commitment for funding for the period 2016-2019. The 2016-2017 period brought a significant shift in our contract focus with movement from Skills & Higher Education into Department of Education and Training-Vulnerable Children Unit.
As you have seen, over the 15 year history of the BMLLEN, there has been an ever changing focus on specific contract deliverables, but one constant purpose of enhancing opportunities for young people to remain engaged in education, training or employment.
To find out more about LLENs in Victoria, click on the link below to visit the Victorian State Government LLEN page: