The next step forward

A merger between GippsTAFE, Advance TAFE and Federation University has been mooted as the next step forward in ‘open access’ education.

The two TAFE institutes will merge from 1 May to form ‘Federation Training’, before integrating with FedUni in 2016.

The university will be among a handful of dual-sector providers in Australia offering Vocational Education and Training courses and university degrees.

“The exciting part of this concept, this track we’re on, is that students can enrol in a Certificate I at their local TAFE, but continue all the way through to a degree, a doctorate if they want, without having to change streams from one university to another or one TAFE to another,” Advance TAFE chair Scott Rossetti said.

Mr Rossetti said for many in the region, it had been difficult to access anything post-secondary, shown in the Gippsland Regional Plan.

“The fact is there is a low post-secondary attainment level for all of our region. That’s in a big part because people just can’t access it,” he said.

Mr Rossetti said the three-way alliance was ultimately ‘common sense’ for Gippslanders and an opportunity previously unavailable when Monash University was at the Churchill campus.

“This will be higher education and better VET delivery into each of those smaller areas right across our region,” he said.

Mr Rosetti said the question of whether VET would disappear under the new model was something that the board had considered carefully and would be of great concern.

“(FedUni) do not actually need us for their higher education, but they have some great advantages in being able to tap into the VET market across the region,” he said.

“They need to have those access points for students to come in right across the region, whether that’s Lakes Entrance, Bairnsdale or Sale, or down at Leongatha or in Morwell or Yallourn.”

Federation University did not respond to The Express before going to print.