‘Merger must be local’

The Gippsland Trades and Labour Council has put its hat into the TAFE merger debate, throwing support behind a collaboration between GippsTAFE, AdvanceTAFE and Federation University of Australia.

Joining the growing body of localised opposition against a possible merger between GippsTAFE and Chisholm Institute of TAFE, GTLC secretary John Parker said the latter option would “greatly confuse” further development of viable pathways connecting vocational training and higher education in the region.

“Chisolm has current arrangements with Victoria University and has established pathway programs,” Mr Parker said.

“In Gippsland a merger of TAFEs with Chisholm could impede and diminish the viability of arrangements for improved access to quality learning at all levels in communities and remove any priority focus on meeting Gippsland’s needs.

“There are many in the broader Gippsland Community who fear that the Melbourne-based TAFE has no track record of engaging with its regional communities.

“Gippsland TAFE’s have been an integral part of our communities and contribute significantly to the well being of those communities.”

Reiterating the GTLC’s support for an AdvanceTAFE/GippsTAFE/FedUni merger, Mr Parker said the arrangement would provide Gippsland communities with unprecedented opportunities.

“FedUni as the University of Ballarat has developed over many years, a viable and sustainable Vocational Education and Training sector and a strong program which created many pathway opportunities for learners linking VET and higher education,” Mr Parker said.

“Combined with the existing GippsTAFE and Advance TAFE facilities, FedUni has the potential to transform education and training right across our Gippsland region.”

The GTLC’s declaration of support for a localised merger comes after the Committee for Wellington, and East Gippsland Shire also threw their support behind a similar arrangement.

However Latrobe City Council is yet to determine their position on the possible merger scenarios.