Victoria University (VU) and Comm Unity Plus Services Ltd (commUnity+) have established a new major alliance to strengthen critical services in the west of Melbourne and provide exciting new employment pathways for students.
commUnity+ is a multi-disciplinary agency that creates positive change, growth, and empowerment through a range of programs, including high-quality adult education, Neighbourhood House and Legal Services (through the Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre), as well as community engagement and development activities.
Prior to the formal partnership, VU and commUnity+ have successfully collaborated for more than four decades on a number of initiatives, including VU law student placements at Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre and social work and community development placements at the Deer Park Neighbourhood House.
Victoria University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker highlighted that both VU and commUnity+ are fundamentally embedded in the community, for the community.
“After collaborating for years on a range of crucial programs, we are thrilled to make this partnership official – and to develop new opportunities for the University’s diverse and dedicated student cohort. At the same time, we’re strengthening critical legal and community services and outcomes for the people of Melbourne’s west. Students, researchers, local employers, and staff from both organisations will undoubtedly benefit greatly from this partnership.”
The focus on the new partnership includes:
- Student Placements and Internships: Opportunity to grow VU student placements and internships with commUnity+ across Social Work, Youth Work, Law and Legal Services, Education, Community Development, and Business;
- Employment opportunities: Employment opportunities for graduating students in areas such as Social Work, Youth Work, Law and Justice, Education, Community Development, Accounting, and Finance, to bolster the community+ workforce.
- Course content and guest lectures commUnity+ staff will collaborate on the development of course content, and participate in course delivery including guest lectures.
- Research: Collaborate on research opportunities, including program evaluation and student research projects.
- Community events: Co-participate in initiatives throughout the West, to celebrate and support our shared communities.
commUnity+ and VU are committed to those who are marginalised or disadvantaged in the west, to better support shared communities, while making a significant impact on the individuals we serve.
“Through our partnership with VU, the purpose of commUnity+ is magnified as we continue to support, strengthen and enable individuals and diverse communities in the west to flourish. As commUnity+ and VU join forces, we embrace the beauty of diversity and champion the boundless potential within each individual by providing the opportunity to thrive and contribute to a brighter future through education, engagement, placements and employment opportunities that prove beneficial across all elements of this partnership,” said Tracey Gaudry, CEO, commUnity+.
Community lawyer and VU alumnus Mr John Kon, now a Community Lawyer with commUnity+, has a unique insight to the benefits of the collaboration.
“I believe this new partnership will provide an opportunity for VU students to enhance their practical legal knowledge outside the classrooms and as a former VU student, providing mentorship to VU students will be a great honour for me in giving back to the VU fraternity and in preparing the next generation of Australian lawyers.”