Tech school’s boost

Alyssa Fritzlaff

THE state government has announced $4.18 million in funding will be shared between Victoria’s technical schools.

The news, announced by Education Minister James Merlino, has been warmly welcomed by the Gippsland Tech School (GTS).

GTS director Paul Boys said the funding will allow the school expand its food and fibre and new energy areas.

“The focus for us in 2021 was the establishment of a sustainable agriculture and energy facility which will be installed in the coming weeks,” he told The Express.

“Once operational, we look forward to highlighting the collaboration between TAFE Gippsland, Food and Fibre Gippsland and the Tech School to achieve greater alignment with our facility capabilities and industry practice in support of our innovative programs.”

GTS will also invest in laboratory equipment for the Yallourn-based Bio-Manufacturing laboratory.

“From 2022, the Tech School will be able to support specialist VCE Biology and Chemistry curriculum,” Mr Boys said.

“In partnership with Dr Emily Scholes (CEO of Enviro Micro Bio), we have procured spectrophotometers, PCR kits, light meters and laboratory equipment to give local students access to industry standard practical experiments as aligned to the VCE curriculum.”

Other schools have used the funding to purchase items such as Thermomix machines and educational robots.

The new equipment will assist the schools in providing “innovative science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) programs”.

This funding has been supplied through the 2021-2022 Tech School Equipment Fund, which aims to help schools invest in “cutting-edge equipment” to build students STEM skills.

Mr Merlino said the funding will help students prepare for the future.

“We know our fastest-growing industries and occupations need advanced STEM skills – and our Tech Schools make sure Victorian students have access to the technology to build the skills they need in the jobs of the future,” he said.

“We’re proud to be supporting our future workforce by investing in the high-tech equipment that makes STEM so engaging, challenging students to tackle real-life problems.”

Tech Schools are intended to provide students the opportunity world on “real-world problems” alongside experts, using up to date technology.

Equipment that is no longer in use by Tech schools is donated to local secondary schools and TAFE providers to support other students’ education.