Federation University and TAFE Gippsland have signed a landmark agreement, which will advance higher education in the region.
In a first for the Gippsland region, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to advance and support tertiary education will see TAFE Gippsland students of nursing, community services, business, education and conservation and land management graduate with guaranteed credits for the relevant Federation University undergraduate degrees.
This means students could finish their university degree in two years instead of three, helping to address local workforce shortages in industries such as health and education.
Federation University deputy vice-chancellor (Academic), Professor Andy Smith, said it would make higher education even more accessible to the community of Gippsland.
“This will help address skills shortages in the region, particularly in education and health,” Professor Smith said.
“It means students will be able to finish their degree and join the workforce sooner.”
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Labour Force Survey shows employment in the Gippsland region has already grown by almost 5000 jobs in education and training, and by more than 3000 in health in the past five years.
The Victorian Government’ s 2019 Jobs and Training Needs Report lists courses in early education, school age education and care, and nursing among a selection of courses that closely align to Gippsland’ s industry and economic needs.
“For 85 years we have been helping Gippsland communities thrive,” TAFE Gippsland CEO Grant Radford, said.
“We are passionate at TAFE Gippsland about giving everyone the opportunity to undertake quality and reliable vocational training. This MoU will be key to ensuring our TAFE students have a clear pathway to advance their studies.”
The agreement will come into effect next year and marks the first step in what will be a long partnership between TAFE Gippsland and Federation University regarding pathway development and the potential for joint program offerings.
TAFE Gippsland and Federation University have also established a scholarship program for 2020, providing 10 TAFE Gippsland graduates with a $1000 grant each to put towards studying a bachelor degree with Federation University.
Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH) education, training and research general manager, Anita Raymond, said LRH had been a strong supporter of regional TAFE and university undergraduate nursing and enrolled placements for many years.
“Our partnership with tertiary providers in the development of nursing graduates is vital to ensuring we’re able to continue providing safe, quality care,” Ms Raymond said.
“Nursing in a regional setting often comes with a unique set of challenges so it’ s terrific to welcome local graduates each year who are eager to work and live in Gippsland.
“This not only benefits our hospital but adds to the vibrancy of our community.”
PICTURED: Anita Raymond, of Latrobe Regional Hospital, Professor Andy Smith, of Federation University, Grant Radford of TAFE Gippsland, and Sue Ritchie of the Karmai Community Children’s Centre.