Victoria University has extended its reach into the community with the launch of The Learning Store @ Highpoint Shopping Centre in Maribyrnong.
The Learning Store builds on the success of the University's Community Gateways, which has brought free career and course counselling to neighbourhood houses, libraries, youth centres and shopping malls over the past year.
The Learning Store will be located full-time at Highpoint for the next several months, offering courses in collaboration with a growing network of partners and free study and employment advice by trained careers counsellors.
Major sponsor Highpoint's GPT Group has provided the space at Highpoint, and the Learning Store will supply information for Community Centres and Neighbourhood Houses in the region. Plans are underway to include information about all training opportunities available in the region under the Learning Store umbrella.
VU Gateways project manager Christine Mountford said the Learning Store's capacity to bring the region's training, support and advice directly to the student through a central location was unique in Australia.
"We've had inquiries from right around the country about what we are establishing here and how it is benefiting the community," she said.
"Since Community Gateways was launched last December, just over 900 people, including career-changers, retirees, the unemployed, migrants and curious shoppers have sought out information about training or further education. As a result, about 15 per cent have enrolled in VU courses, but the total number is much higher since Community Gateways also makes referrals to other organisations not recorded in this tally," Ms Mountford said.
Community Gateways and The Learning Store are based on Britain's Norwich Learning Shop, established nearly 15 years ago, which provides free advice and information about courses and training from hundreds of local providers in a shopping centre setting.
The media are invited to The Learning Store Open Day.
What: Open Day, The Learning Store
Where: Shop 1150, Highpoint Shopping Centre (near the cinema entrance)
When: Tuesday 30 November 2010
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
The Learning Store Contact:
Christine Mountford, Project Manager, VU College
Ph: (03) 9919 7664 or 0431 657 945
Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer,
VU Marketing and Communications Department, Ph: (03) 9919 5487 or 0403 556 001.