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    Cecile Vence.

Centre micro business program in the running for award

By SARAH MATTHEWS

A Wimmera program boosting the employability of culturally and linguistically diverse women is in the running for a major state award.

Centre for Participation’s Micro Business Program is among 25 finalists in eight categories in this year’s Victorian Learn Local Awards.

Organisation award category winners, to be announced next month, will receive $10,000, individual winners $5000 and each finalist collects $1000. The Micro Business Program is one of three finalists in the Victorian Learn Local Pre-accredited Program Award for large providers category.



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Centre acting chief executive Robbie Millar said he experienced a mixture of excitement, joy and satisfaction upon learning the program was a finalist. 

“We feel so honoured as an organisation,” he said.

“It is the first time we have been a finalist since 2012.”

Centre for Participation won the Learn Local Award for Outstanding Koori Achievement in 2011 and 2012. 

Learn Local providers offer unique, community-based learning options, with a focus on learners’ individual needs. They are particularly suited to adult learners of all ages looking to develop their digital, literacy, numeracy and employability skills for study, work and life.

The Micro Business Program trains students specifically to start their own craft or culinary enterprise, but also gives them general employability skills. 

The program, which started in June last year and featured 19 students from 15 different ethnic communities, is tailored for women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Program facilitator Cecile Vence said she was grateful for the ‘overwhelming support’ of centre staff and management.

“This also includes the support provided by organisations we co-ordinated with like Centre for Participation’s Laneway – Cafe without Borders, Wimmera Development Association and Warracknabeal Neighbourhood House,” she said.

“Being a finalist means I’ve made a mark on myself and in the community. It is a great privilege. I was simply happy doing my work, helping the students achieve their goals. 

“However, if declared as a winner, this would mean a lot to me because it proves that in spite of all the challenges, we can still achieve great things.  

“This award will also prove that we can always make a positive difference in whatever way we can, wherever we may be.”

Areas covered by the Micro Business Program – delivered online because of the coronavirus pandemic – included market research, marketing and branding, digital and social media, applying for an ABN and business insurance, food handling skills, customer service and barista skills.

Of the 19 participants, two went on to further education and training while 12 secured full-time or part-time work in hospitality, food preparation or barista roles as well as other industries. One pursued an online business, while the remaining participants relocated.

Centre for Participation will host a ‘Micro business recognition day’ today to celebrate the latest crop of graduates. 

The entire November 17, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!