Preston Reservoir Adult Community Education (PRACE)
What is PRACE?
PRACE is a not-for-profit charitable organisation committed to meeting the language, literacy and numeracy, vocational training and further education needs of our local community in the Northern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne.
We have strong ties with the local community where we’ve been running programs for over 25 years. We deliver training at a number of venues including Merrilands Community Centre, Reservoir Neighbourhood House, East Preston Community Centre, Northland Youth Centre, and Thomastown Neighbourhood House.
We’re regarded as a key English as an Additional Language (EAL) and literacy and numeracy adult education provider.
In addition to this, we’re a Learn Local, Neighbourhood House, Registered Training Organisation and deliver the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) as an independent school, PRACE College.
Why did you become a Digital Springboard delivery partner?
Digital skills training has become an important part of our curriculum but it’s been challenging to find high quality, accessible and comprehensive classroom resources suitable for people from highly diverse backgrounds. The Digital Springboard resources appear to address this gap.
We were attracted to becoming a Digital Springboard partner because we recognise that the initiative is motivated by a commitment to digital inclusion, and more broadly, driven by an interest in social justice. This is a perspective that is strongly in line with our organisation’s values.
What are your community’s needs, and how will Digital Springboard help?
Returning to work
Over the last 10 years we’ve had a surge of interest in digital skills training from people aged over 45 years old. Many of these individuals have experienced forced redundancy and/or have simply found themselves in an economy that requires skills that were not part of their secondary school education. For these people, ‘starting from scratch’ often feels overwhelming and we are always looking for new ways to support these learners.
Our VCAL teachers and youth workers are always looking for innovative new ways to assist our students to develop a higher level of digital skills. Our students have developed an interest in social media strategy and marketing, but so far have not undertaken formal training in this area.
English as an Additional Language
It is often difficult to find specialised training materials for EAL students, particularly ones focused on digital skills.
It’s not uncommon for EAL students to arrive at PRACE with little formal education. To get this cohort ‘work-ready’, it’s our aim to introduce technology to them early. It’s our objective that once students have completed the four levels of EAL training, they’ll have the confidence to navigate a range of digital devices and the ability to engage with friends and prospective employers online.
Foundational vocational training
A similar principle applies to our pre-accredited course participants. This diverse cohort of students have enrolled at PRACE to complete foundation level training. Course participants have often experienced long-term unemployment.
Adults with cognitive disabilities
Students in our Transition Education program experience a range of cognitive and developmental issues and come to PRACE seeking an opportunity to improve their interpersonal skills and independence. These students often have low literacy levels but are always eager to engage with new technology.
We’re always looking for new ideas and resources to better engage with this diverse audience and the clean and well-designed Digital Springboard resources will be great new asset for our program.
Which courses will you be delivering, and why?
We’ve chosen a selection of Digital Springboard courses that fit well with our existing curriculum, including ‘Build your CV’, ‘Write a cover letter’ and ‘Introduction to email’. Prior to becoming a Digital Springboard delivery partner, we didn’t have access to comprehensive resources on these topics.
Have you attended train the trainer?
Two of our staff members have attended train the trainer and were both highly impressed with these sessions; the facilitation style was interesting and engaging (certainly no death by PowerPoint!) Walking through the materials with Infoxchange staff opened our eyes as an organisation to the depth and breadth of the impressive resources available through the Digital Springboard platform. Without this experience it may have taken us much longer to understand how the different components of each ‘training pack’ connect. Another important benefit of this training opportunity was the chance to meet with people from a range of different sectors (local government, employment and community) and share our experiences of delivering digital inclusion focused programs in very different contexts.
Read more about PRACE on their website.