Three Gippsland-based education providers have entered a Memorandum of Understanding in a bid to promote regional education.
After a “formal partnership” was announced between Federation University Australia, GippsTAFE and AdvanceTAFE in December, the institutions have been in talks and have developed an MoU for the possible partnership.
“Work on a business case will now commence to examine a proposed partnership between the TAFEs and FedUni, subject to government and TAFE board approval,” FedUni senior deputy vice-chancellor Rowena Coutts said.
“A key element of the business case will be to improve the training opportunities and educational outcomes available to students within the region.”
FedUni vice chancellor professor David Battersby said as three major public education providers of tertiary education, it made a lot of sense to see how they could make tertiary education in Gippsland even better.
“We want to see how we can strengthen and deepen the relationship between the three institutions for the benefit of the Gippsland region,” Professor Battersby said.
GippsTAFE chief executive Dr Peter Whitley said a unified approach to education in the Gippsland region was essential to support economic development and provide quality skills and knowledge for the people of Gippsland.
Dr Whitley said GippsTAFE has had a strong and productive partnership with the University of Ballarat (now part of Federation University Australia) for three years.
He said the three institutions were looking at how they could combine courses across the geography of the region and use digital technology such as video conferencing to link together.
“We’re combining resources and experience from each of the three institutions and bringing them together into one,” Dr Whitley said.
Dr Whitley said FedUni, AdvanceTAFE and GippsTAFE had similar cultures and understood the types of courses required to support the region.
“We understand what is required in regional centres. There may be a smaller number of people within regional centres, but we still want the same advancements afforded to metropolitan areas.”
Advance TAFE chief executive Shaun McDonagh said the MoU indicated an agreement between the three organisations to work together to find the best ways to support training and education across the region and to determine the most effective organisational and operational model for the future.
“It will take some time to work through all the issues at a detailed level and each organisation is committed to a collaborative approach focused on our students and the community needs,” Mr McDonagh said.