The Department of State Development and Community Centres SA jointly invited ACE providers, tutors, participants, training bodies and peak organisations, as well as Commonwealth and State Government agencies to partner with us in co-designing the future of ACE.
This unique and extensive engagement process has meant working alongside those who deliver and benefit from ACE programs in the decision-making process.
Experienced ACE tutors have met with over 50 participants to discover, through the sharing of stories and experiences, how ACE has impacted their lives. This valuable input has informed our new ACE vision and will inform program changes.
The feedback provided with suggestions to strengthen ACE, reflect the key themes of:
- New vision, recognising the unique strengths of ACE
- Funding arrangements
- Improving connections with other programs and services
- Communications and marketing of ACE
- Streamlining program management
- Sector capacity and workforce capability
1. New vision, recognising the unique strengths of ACE
Feedback on this theme, focussed on a new vision, which outlines the benefits that ACE brings to participants; and secondly how ACE is connected to the whole education and employability journey to deliver its full potential.
ACE participants identified the small class sizes, one-on-one support and local, non-threatening learning environment as the unique strengths of ACE, with key benefits of the program being increased confidence and the program’s role in providing a pathway to further learning, training, volunteering or work for ACE participants.
The Draft ACE Program Statement has a new vision, which reflects stakeholder feedback.
2. Funding arrangements
ACE providers identified funding caps, contract length and the difference between the amount of funding for accredited and non-accredited grants as the more significant issues to deal with than the overall allocation of funds. The proposed new goal five - an improved ACE model, addresses this feedback.
3. Improving connections with other programs and services
To improve connections with other programs and services, providers have suggested additional resources are needed to better connect participants and facilitate pathways to volunteering, further learning or work. Providers also suggested ACE needs to be promoted as a preferred option, that is recognised and valued for its contribution to the individual’s pathway.
Participants identified a need for clearer pathways to training / employment, more courses for career planning, volunteering placements with employers, and other support services referring them to ACE, as well as ACE units of competency contributing to a qualification.
The proposed new goal four – formalise connections between ACE providers and other programs and services and goal three – create a framework that supports seamless pathways for individuals within and beyond the ACE program will both contribute to addressing this feedback from participants and providers.
4. Communications and marketing of ACE
ACE Providers generally felt that ACE is not promoted or marketed well and that the tools are missing to do this effectively, so marketing needs to be funded as part of a strengthened ACE Program. In addition, they felt a brand could be beneficial, as it would provide the Program with a clearer identity and credibility. The brand would need to capture the diversity of ACE and ensure that what makes it different from other training and employment programs is clear.
Feedback from ACE participants and the public identified a need for better promotion of courses in local communities. ACE participants view the small class sizes, one-on-one support and local, non-threatening learning environment as the unique strengths of ACE.
Peaks bodies and partner organisations stated better marketing would improve ACE, as well as strengthen relationships with ACE providers and other support services. Marketing should aim to reach a broader range of participants (e.g. young people and migrants) and provide wider promotion of good news stories related to successful transitions and pathways of ACE participants.
The proposed new goal one - strengthen the profile of the ACE program and promote its unique strengths, addresses this feedback and is linked to goal four – formalise connections between ACE providers and other programs and services.
5. Streamlining program management
Feedback was generally consistent from ACE providers, which highlighted that decision-making on approvals and contracts both need to occur more quickly, with providers needing to know the status of their grant application by May 2017. This would allow sufficient time for providers to advertise, organise courses and ensure appropriate staffing arrangements are in place.
Other feedback provided suggestions to streamline reporting and contract payments to align course delivery with school terms and to align reporting arrangements with Commonwealth requirements. This feedback has been addressed in goal five – an improved ACE Program model.
ACE providers also suggested that reporting should measure all outcomes and success factors for ACE participants (beyond course hours, employment outcomes and number of participants). There was also support for Results Based Accountability (RBA) being rolled out to all ACE Providers (following the pilot program with 10 providers). This would better measure program success and implement a wider variety of measures to capture a broader range of outcomes (including improvements in the foundation skills of learners).
The proposed new goal six – capture all measures of success addresses this feedback.
6. Sector capacity and workforce capability
The engagement feedback was clear that the current functions and success of the ACE program relies on many unfunded hours contributed by tutors, coordinators and volunteers toward mentoring, supporting and connecting participants with services and pathways into training or work.
The proposed new goal two - recognise and build the capability of the ACE workforce, addresses this feedback.
To find out more about the feedback, which has directly impacted the proposed new goals for ACE from 2018/19, please view the feedback report (PDF 1MB).