GOTAFE has extended its ongoing commitment to equity, fairness and respect for its community, with the launch of the Victorian TAFE sector’s first ever Social Justice Charter.

The creation of prayer rooms, multilingual interactive displays on campus, and LGBTQI+, autism and mental health training for staff are some of the tangible actions outlined in the new Social Justice Charter.

Its development was led by 18 GOTAFE students, in close collaboration with more than 500 students, staff and community members.

The guiding principles of respect, equity, participation, diversity and empowerment strive to forge a pathway to a welcoming environment and equal opportunities for students, staff and the broader community.

The charter pays particular focus to those community groups more likely to experience discrimination, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, multicultural communities, LGBTIQ+ identifying people, people with disabilities, and younger and older community members.

Its benefits will be set for implementation across GOTAFE’s eight campuses in Shepparton, Benalla, Wangaratta, Seymour and Wallan campuses.

GOTAFE chief executive Travis Heeney reiterated the importance of the charter.

“GOTAFE has had an inclusion focus for a long time, but now we have a systematic and planned approach to embedding social justice and inclusion across our organisation and into everything we do,” he said.

“We’re immensely proud of the collaborative efforts that have produced this charter, and we’re committed to following its launch with immediate action, with rollout already underway across our campuses.

Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney, who also attended the launch, celebrated what the charter represented for the state’s education sector.

“We’re committed to giving every Victorian access to a quality education and making them feel safe while they study – which is at the heart of GOTAFE’s new Social Justice Charter,” she said.

GOTAFE has a strong history of championing diversity, equity and inclusion within its operations, systems and infrastructure.

Last year, it was awarded the Victorian Training Awards Inclusive Training Provider of the Year, in recognition of the work surrounding the Social Justice Charter specifically, the support GOTAFE provides for students with disabilities.

To access the charter, visit www.gotafe.vic.edu.au.