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Tertiary Education Roundtable looks to our future

Tertiary Education Roundtable looks to our future

Friday 26 October 2018

As part of its strong focus on advocacy priorities, Bass Coast Shire Council recently hosted a roundtable discussion on progressing tertiary education investment in the Shire.

Participating in the facilitated workshop were representatives from several state government departments, local and regional education providers, post-secondary students, community and business advocates and key employers.

For many students in Bass Coast, facing the hurdles of limited access to higher education and skills training decreases the likelihood of them completing year 12, going to university and finishing a degree. The prospect of relocating to attend tertiary education can be a deal-breaker for many students.

The Roundtable provided insights and direction from the participants in order for the initiative to be progressed and achieved.

Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, is keen to see more local options for university education and highlighted how this can also lead into local employment.

“Providing a local education pathway into university could support students at risk of poor learning outcomes to reach their potential and stay in education for better life opportunities.

“This also leads to the retention and attraction of skilled workers in our community and ultimately helps with the region’s economic development and longer-term viability.”

Council has been actively advocating to government for support is seeking to develop a business case which will investigate the establishment of a Bass Coast University Centre. The Centre would provide a regional study hub and university centre located in Bass Coast.

It would work with existing education and university providers and attract new opportunities and pathways to support the delivery of a range of courses and programs.

“Council officers recently visited the Country Universities Centre in Cooma to understand how that model works and whether it had been successful.

“The initial assessment has been very positive and we’re now pursuing further discussion and exploring different ways of delivering flexible access to University courses locally. These could also be established in other regional and remote locations in Victoria,” concluded Cr Rothfield.

Council is taking a lead on the proposal and will seek to establish a project steering committee to help develop a business case and confirm the model to progress.

Council has written to, and had meetings with, State Government Ministers, Shadow Cabinet Opposition members, elected representatives and election candidates to garner support for all our advocacy priorities. Council officers have also met with the Federal Department of Education’s Regional Study Hubs Program Manager in Canberra.

The premise is that the Centre would deliver courses in mixed-mode, providing a blend of online curriculum, resources and activities together with face-to-face tutorials, laboratories and workshops. The Centre would also provide a study hub for local students designed to nurture collaboration and provide a safe and practical study environment.