Federation Training snubs Wellington Shire

SIX months after a requesting information from Federation Training, Wellington Shire Council is still awaiting a response.

Council and the Wellington community remain in the dark about the status of Federation Training’s Fulham campus.

For at least a decade, there has been a push to relocate the Fulham facility into Sale.

The preferred location was the 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.

Land was also freed up when the Gippsland Armed Forces Museum relocated, ironically to Fulham.

In November, last year Wellington Shire councillor Patrick McIvor moved a question on notice for the chief executive to inform council about how much of the state government’s $320 million TAFE Rescue Fund would be spent on local campuses, as well as details of enrolment and completion rates.

Council soon sought the information from Federation Training, with a response anticipated for council’s first meeting this year.

When council meetings resumed in February, no response came.

Mayor Darren McCubbin and chief executive David Morcom met with Federation Training executives on February 11, and were advised a detailed response would be made within four weeks.

None has been forthcoming.

The Gippsland Times on Tuesday last week asked the following questions of Federation Training:

“Is there a reason why Federation Training hasn’t provided a response to Wellington Shire Council?

“Are there any plans to upgrade or relocate Federation Training’s campuses in Sale and Fulham?

“Is the future of the local facilities secure?

“What is the level of enrolments for these facilities? Are they stable? and

“The state government recently said it was restoring Federation Training’s community service funding, with $3.79 million to support vulnerable students. What are Federation Training’s plans for this funding? Will some be used at Sale and Fulham?”

As of Thursday morning’s publication deadline, Federation Training had not provided a response.

The Gippsland Times understands an unwillingness to publicly admit to the extent student numbers have fallen at Fulham is a factor behind a lack of answers.

Federation Training chief executive Wendy Wood told the Gippsland Times last September the low number of students enrolled at Fulham could not justify the large investment required to establish a new facility at the Port of Sale.

Ms Wood announced her resignation from the position in November last year.

Her replacement, Jonathan Davis, will take over the role late next month.

Mr Davis will relocate from New South Wales to take up the position, having previously been executive director of Central Coast Community College.

In his introduction to the Wellington Shire Council 2016-17 budget, Cr McCubbin said he would continue advocating for the TAFE relocation to improve access to education and training for residents.

A 2011 report into tertiary education in Gippsland found Wellington Shire had a higher rate of students leaving school early to take up apprenticeships or full time employment than other parts of the state.