Alliance augurs well for GippsTAFE

THE proposed alliance between the University of Ballarat and Monash University Gippsland will augur well for Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE, which has existing partnerships with both institutions.

GippsTAFE chief executive Dr Peter Whitley said the institute had good partnerships in delivering degrees in conjunction with the universities as well as pathways courses, and would be able to produce better outcomes for local students.

“GippsTAFE is now in a very good position to grow choices for people in the region,” Dr Whitley said.

“I think we require something different (in Gippsland), such as degrees of an applied nature, that are practical to support industry and around food sciences and food because we are trying to be one of the nation’s food bowls; applied degrees would work very well for us.”

Dr Whitley said through preliminary discussions with the University of Ballarat, he believed more partnerships and arrangements for TAFE students to seek pathways into the university could materialise.

When asked about the perceived loss of prestige because of Monash University’s Group of Eight status, Dr Whitley said he believed the content of the degrees were more important than the “brand name”.

“Employers are more interested in a degree and whether it has the right amount of knowledge and skills; it is the reputation of quality delivery and content which makes a degree prestigious,” he said.

“If we get behind the new institution, we will make those degrees worthwhile.

“There is no doubt Monash degrees are prestigious, but the reality is what we need to be doing is ensuring more people start to undertake tertiary study than it is to look at prestige.”

After the announcement of the proposed merger between the universities, Higher Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall said the implications for local TAFEs would be significant.

“These relationships will have the potential to grow significantly, particularly at the Churchill campus, which is a higher education campus,” Mr Hall said, adding opportunities for funding assistance would be given.

“As it is for now, people should get excited about future prospects, which would encourage participation and debate.”