Federation Training future remains in limbo

FEDERATION Training says it can’t offer a “quick fix” solution to the education provider’s relocation and enrolment woes, and is still working with the Wellington Shire Council and the state government to secure its future.

Responding to questions posed by the Gippsland Times on Friday, the provider revealed the future of Federation Training’s Fulham campus was still in limbo, with no sign of immediate resolution.

Federation Training managing director Jonathan Davis said the provider’s vision was to be “a leader in education and training, partnering with industries and communities to build a socially vibrant, economically strong Gippsland”.

“We are committed to working closely with the Wellington Shire and the Victorian government to plan the future provision of education in Wellington to meet local employment needs,” he said.

“Our discussions to date have been fruitful and are ongoing, and all parties are absolutely committed to continue working together.

“But we cannot jump to a ‘quick fix’ solution.

“We need to get this right, to ensure we meet the skills and training needs of local students, workers and businesses in Sale, and, indeed, across the whole of Gippsland.”

Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien has again called on the state government to provide answers on a new campus for Federation Training in Sale.

Mr O’Brien said it was now more than a month since Federation Training indicated that an announcement was imminent on a new site to replace the outdated Fulham campus.

Speaking in parliament, Mr O’Brien called on Labor to step up to the plate.

“The time has well and truly come for the Labor government to fund a new campus for Sale to replace the outdated Fulham campus,” he said.

“We’ve seen courses at the Fulham campus cut and student numbers are plummeting.”

Mr O’Brien said there was “no reason now for the government not to provide a strong future for Federation Training in Wellington Shire”.

The education provider has been plagued by poor enrolment, staffing problems and access problems.

For at least a decade, there has been a push to relocate the Fulham facility into Sale, with the preferred location the old Sale Netball Association site near the Port of Sale.

The building of the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex allowed for the netball association to move in 2010, and make the site available for TAFE, and land was also freed up when the Gippsland Armed Forces Museum relocated to Fulham.

But nothing eventuated, and in February the provider’s management confirmed a number of job losses, as well as a “reduction in some training courses”, in order for the training facility to remain financially viable.

In June the annual report revealed student contact hours at Federation Training fell by almost 700,000 hours, and about a third of its workforce left between 2014 and 2015.

At the time, Mr Davis said “poor decision-making and financial mismanagement” in the past had threatened the institute’s viability.

In early July, Federation Training director Des Powell told the annual general meeting that an announcement on its future was imminent.

“I can’t say anything yet,” he told the meeting.

Gippsland Senior
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