Public Policy Impacts

The Australian Government has set a high priority on building a socially inclusive society, 'one in which all Australians feel valued and have the opportunity to participate fully in the life of our society.'

One of the reasons that social inclusion is a particularly valuable way of framing policy is that:

It can embrace the major causes of poverty along with the everyday needs of communities in a way that terms such as social capital or disadvantage cannot. It provides a framework for targeting disadvantaged population groups and communities while having a role in facilitating opportunities to help all places be supportive and safe (Ferrie, 2008, p. 4).

Under this policy agenda the Government's vision is that:

All Australians will have the resources, opportunities and capability to:

  • Learn by participating in education and training
  • Work by participating in employment, in voluntary work and in family and caring
  • Engage by connecting with people and using their local community's resources and
  • Have a voice so that they can influence decisions that affect them. (Commonweatlh of Australia, 2010)

Learning provides opportunities to develop capabilities and the resources to deal with life. Many of those who have not had the opportunity to engage with the knowledge society through their previous work are less able to engage with learning as they age. The importance of the chance to continue to learn has been demonstrated in the Clemente Program as regardless of age, students describe the program as 'life enhancing, life changing'.