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Skilling the Bay facilitates the delivery of targeted place-based initiatives that bring schools, tertiary education providers, community organisations, and industry in the Geelong and Barwon region together to prepare young people for the new world of work and provide them with an understanding of possible career pathways and work opportunities. Skilling the Bay seeks to raise educational attainment and retention levels, increase workforce participation through training and re‑skilling, and support the growth of existing and emerging industries.

Skilling the Bay is led by The Gordon Institute of TAFE and delivered in partnership with Deakin University and the Victorian Department of Education.

Through the Education and Pathways Initiative, Skilling the Bay aims to inspire and engage secondary students in learning and the world of work, promote the value of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and highlight career pathways to industries of regional significance.


Skilling the Bay’s Purpose

Deliver a place-based approach to promote, strengthen and supplement career pathways for young people into sustainable and decent work in the Barwon region.


Stemming from this purpose are the objectives that have been established to guide Skilling the Bay actions, delivery, and the operational focus of the STB Program Management Office. These objectives were developed in response to key agreed drivers in the region, linking strategic goals to desired short and long-term outcomes.



Students face difficulties navigating options to make appropriate pathway choices

Poor reception of vocational education and training as a valuable career pathway

Early school leavers face greater challenges in transitioning to sustainable and decent employment

Industry reports students lack skills to successfully transition to work

A diverse and rapidly changing economy (industry 4.0) requires higher levels of skills and training

Strategic Responses

Provide meaningful industry immersion experiences in trending and growing industries

Promote better understanding of the value of vocational education and training pathways

Raise awareness of career pathways to foster student aspiration and confidence

Facilitate collaboration between education, community and industry to reduce barriers and increase participation.

Prepare students to develop 21st Century skills for the contemporary workforce


Skilling the Bay’s ability to connect people, organisations, and resources and deliver evidenced-based programs is pivotal as an organising force for change in the Greater Geelong and Barwon region. With a guiding purpose to promote, strengthen and supplement pathways for people into sustainable and decent work, Skilling the Bay recognises the importance for people of all ages to see a path for themselves into new and emerging jobs and careers as the economy and nature of work change. Skilling the Bay’s Strategic Plan outlines how our Education and Pathways Initiatives address the drivers in the current reporting period.


Workforce Australia Local Jobs – Barwon 

Skilling the Bay also manages the Workforce Australia Local Jobs Program for the Barwon Region. The program complements the Education and Pathways Initiative by connecting job seekers to local jobs. Local Jobs aims to:

  • Provide support for upskilling, reskilling, and job opportunities by collaborating with local services and employers
  • Minimise time out of work or training for job seekers
  • Connect the greatest number of people to training and/or employment opportunities to meet local labour market needs, as quickly as possible
  • Support local decision makers to identify and leverage existing employment and training services
  • Enhance coordination of the Department’s existing range of place-based initiatives
  • Enhance coordination and linkages with other Australian Government priorities and state government programs


Delivery Partners

Preparing Geelong for the jobs of the future through education, employment and innovation