FEDERATION Training will provide vocational education in Sale for the long term, according to head of its Sale and Traralgon campuses, Karen Bird.
Executive director of educational programs, quality and compliance for Sale and Traralgon, Ms Bird emphasised Federation Training’s Fulham campus had not closed and the institute was committed to Fulham until a better solution for Sale such as the Port of Sale became available.
Speaking to the Gippsland Times, Ms Bird said the Port of Sale campus was still being pursued (as the preferred option) along with an expanded G-tech.
The former Advance TAFE had been planning for 10 years to build a new campus at the Port of Sale, having secured funding to buy the site but not a government commitment to fund the buildings.
“The new Port of Sale campus would be nice, it’s proving to be a long hard battle, but it is critical for Sale, for the community and industry, to have that facility,” Ms Bird said.
She said local provision of vocational training and entry level higher education was essential for the community’s well being.
“It’s important to have the opportunity for training and education without the need to move to Melbourne.
“We know aspirations are so low in rural and regional areas; we need to offer access to meaningful courses to lift the aspirations of local youth and adults,” Ms Bird said.
During 2015 Federation Training will be operating from its three Sale campuses, its Fulham campus at West Sale Airport, its flexible learning centre on the corner of Desailly and Cunninghame Sts in the centre of Sale and its G-tech centre on Cobains Rd where its VCAL course is centred.
The main campus at Fulham offers a wide range of courses, drawing students from a wide area with graphic arts-photo imaging, a Diploma of Nursing, community services, aged care and horticulture.
With Federation Training now able to confirm enrolments during December, most of its courses are locked-in, ensuring security of course delivery for students and staff.
Many local apprentices also complete their training at Fulham in aviation, automotive, building and construction, hospitality and hairdressing.
The Fulham work safety centre delivers industry specific training courses around occupational health and safety and programs developed for people wishing to enter the building industry.
The merger of Advance TAFE and GippsTAFE during 2014 led to staff redundancies and the closure and subsequent sale of the Farmtech facility, but Ms Bird stressed vocational horticulture and veterinary nursing studies were still offered.
While the state of facilities at Fulham, and more importantly its distance from Sale, posed a number of challenges for students, Ms Bird stressed the equipment-heavy nature of the photo imaging and nursing courses meant that until a significantly improved campus was available they would continue to be based at Fulham.
She added Federation Training was investigating other vocational course offerings, particularly in the food production sector, which were identified as a growth area.
“We also need employers to approach us to discuss the areas they see as having skills shortages,” Ms Bird said.
“Vocational education is critical in addressing those shortages, and in turn that leads to our graduates having employment opportunities,” she said.