Millions heaped on Valley education

A multi-million dollar investment into the Latrobe Valley’s education sector has been included in the State Government’s 2016/17 budget.

The region will share in $116 million towards the establishment of 10 technical schools, with the Morwell Technical School to be developed at Federation Training’s Morwell campus.

A vacant section of the campus building will be refurbished and updated to become the technical school, which will work in partnership with the region’s secondary schools and TAFE to complement students’ studies.

Under the establishment, secondary students will be able to attend the school for the technical parts of their studies, while remaining at their chosen secondary school.

The technical school will focus on four industries of local importance – health, food and fibre, new energy, and advanced manufacturing – with the aim of providing local employment opportunities.

“Secondary school students will attend the tech school for part of their program as appropriate and be exposed to the latest leading edge technology being used in the industry,” Federation Training executive director of engagement and capability Jenni Hardy said.

“This will include a discovery centre, practical labs, hands-on activities and the potential to work on industry related projects.”

Fed Training will be responsible for the employment of staff and the maintenance of the facility through the establishment of a tech school committee.

Ongoing annual funding of about $24 million over four years will be provided by the State Government to assist with the 10 schools’ operational costs.

Morwell Park Primary School is another budget winner, with $7.8 million allocated towards the refurbishment of its classrooms.

The second stage of the Morwell Schools Regeneration Project, the school had been campaigning for some time for the funds.

“They have been really patient and this funding has been a long time coming,” Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said.

Principal Christopher Joustra said the updated facilities would provide state-of-the-art classrooms to match their school’s teaching methods.

The funding will go towards the revamp of the prep to grade three classrooms.

Member for Morwell Russell Northe welcomed the funding for Morwell Park Primary School, after the school had been left out of last year’s budget.

He said he was disappointed funding for Latrobe Special Developmental School had not been included in this year’s budget.

Moe’s Baringa School also benefited from the budget, with the government last week announcing $3 million towards its upgrade.

Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood said Moe’s Albert Street Primary School missed out on funding, along with Trafalgar High School for the third stage of its redevelopment.