01 Aug 2019

The Hon. J.S. LEE (14:30): My question is directed to the Minister for Human Services about the Women's Education Program delivered by TAFE SA. Can the minister please provide an update to the council about this important program and outline why investing in women's education is wonderful for individuals and for our state?

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (14:30): I thank the honourable member for her question. On 26 June, it was my great pleasure, as well as the Hon. Tammy Franks, Ms Steph Key, the member for Reynell and the member for Florey—I think that was all the MPs who were there—to attend the Adelaide College of Arts for the 2019 TAFE SA Women's Education graduation. We were invited by Ms Jenice Wheeler, who is the Education Manager, Foundation Skills, for the relaunch program for the Women's Education Program.

This program provides women in South Australia with the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and self-confidence to succeed in further education or employment and deal with career and life changes. Importantly, the program has been critical to supporting women who have experienced domestic and family violence to regain confidence, make social and professional connections and increase their opportunities for further education and/or employment.

The program has strong working relationships with the Working Women's Centre, domestic violence services and the Zahra Foundation. The program is particularly designed for women who have been out of paid work or studied for several years who wish to return, want to prepare themselves for entry into a specific education course or area of employment, want to develop skills to advocate for women in a variety of settings, are in the workplace and are looking for a career change or promotion, are unsure about career or further study direction and want to explore possibilities, or who want to build confidence or are interested in exploring women's position in society.

The event was to relaunch the program to recognise 40 years of the uniqueness of it and to celebrate the achievements of the new graduates. The Women's Education curriculum has recently been approved by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), with a focus on advocacy for women. It was called a relaunch because the ASQA alignment, of course, was previously titled Certificate in Women's Education. The certificates now available through the stream are a Certificate II in Vocational Preparation for Women, Certificate III in Women's Advocacy, and Certificate IV in Women's Advocacy. The program has had support from a range of women from various political parties over the years.

The program has also provided a submission to the federal inquiry into vocational education and training. We also heard from a number of women who had benefited from the program in 40 years. There was a panel that spoke about their experiences of having participated in each of the decades since its inception. It was a great pleasure for me to present the certificates to all of the graduates, and I wish them all the best as they embark on their future endeavours.