TAFEs consider future structures

ADVANCE TAFE and GippsTAFE boards are exploring future collaboration options with multiple potential partners, including Chisolm Institute and Federation University.

The consideration of future options for the structure of Advance TAFE continue following the announcement last week that the TAFE’s agriculture campus, Farmtec, would close.

A TAFE spokesman said the closure reflected the change in demand for agricultural training across the state and the reforms to the Vocational Education and Training sector that compelled ongoing viability and sustainability of courses.

The facility will close in two weeks and courses already underway will be taught out next year, giving current students a chance to complete their studies and formalise their qualifications.

Horticulture and equine studies courses being taught at Farmtec will be relocated to other Advance TAFE campuses.

In the past two years a major reform process has been underway across TAFE throughout Victoria and many TAFEs are considering what partnerships may best serve both their region and their constituents as they seek to form new arrangements in response to changing community demand.

GippsTAFE and Advance TAFE have engaged with Chisholm Institute and Federation University Australia and talks are underway to explore the best fit in terms of organisational objectives and stakeholder needs.

It is expected that preferred partnerships will be announced early in 2014.

Advance TAFE and GippsTAFE are well down the path of increased collaboration and are awaiting the outcomes of the TAFE Structural Reform Fund which has begun assessing various bids, including joint bids to aid institutional collaboration.

Increasing the use of technology to support students and maintaining and enhancing the range of courses are key outcomes both organisations seek for Gippsland.

Advance TAFE chairman Scott Rossetti said it was in the interests of the students, employers and industry of eastern Victoria to work together to enhance the viability of Vocational Education and Training in the region.

“Whatever arrangements are to be funded by government we must have reforms in place that ensure sustainability into the future,” he said.

GippsTAFE chairman John Mitchell said the Gippsland Tertiary Education Plan clearly signalled the need for better alignment and innovation with education and training providers and options at all levels between TAFE and university provision,

“This is consistent with how we are responding,” he said.