Hub study free for students

Hub study free for students

Learning from home this past year highlighted many things for students, things like the importance of a reliable internet connection and the necessity of a peaceful place to concentrate.

As restrictions ease and exams occur, the perfect place to study in Bairnsdale has finally been officially opened.

The Gippsland East Higher Education Study Hub, the first of its kind in Victoria, had the ribbon cut last Friday by Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester.

The Hub has university-like facilities to allow students to undertake tertiary courses without having to relocate.

On hand to witness the occasion was Edith Cowan University student, Murtaza Pishori, of Lakes Entrance, who is studying a Bachelor of Psychology and Counselling, which he began online in Perth, Western Australia.

After moving to East Gippsland last year he has continued his studies and completed exams at the Hub, also working part time in Lakes.

For Murtaza, 23, studying from home was a noisy affair among five siblings who were also studying.

“I would absolutely recommend the study hub to others,” Murtaza said.

“There’s the silence, the monitors, the couch, I push people to come here.”

Murtaza also has his own podcast and the Hub has technology available to help with that too.

The Hub is run by Gippsland East Local Learning and Employment Network (GELLEN), a not for profit organisation with more than 100 members.

GELLEN executive officer, Jane Ponting, said the organisation aimed to bridge gaps, create opportunites and galvanise existing networks for students.

“We cover Gippsland from Yarram to Mallacoota and have 97 registered students with 47 of them completing undergraduate bachelor degrees through 13 different universities,” Ms Ponting said.

There are also TAFE students and those completing Certificates, as well as 23 VCE students and 21 vocational education students.

Gippsland East Higher Education Study Hub coordinator Joanne Montgomery said the hub was free to access for students from any tertiary institution.

“We have video conferencing, high speed internet, the latest podcast and flipchart technology as well as group and private study spaces,” Ms Montgomery said.

Mr Chester said not everyone followed the same path or arrived at the same time and congratulated those involved on making a difference.

“Students from regional backgrounds are more likely to return to their areas and as a region we have trouble attracting health and education workers,” Mr Chester said.

“This virtual university is helping to address the skills shortage in regional areas by supporting our young people to become qualified to fill jobs in areas of need.

“There are many barriers to students in regional areas continuing onto tertiary study, not the least of which is the cost of living away from home. This new hub is taking away some of those barriers.”

TAFE Gippsland partnership broker, Joe Rettino, who has just graduated with a Master in Business Administration with Federation University at age 60, is glad the Hub has finally come to fruition.

“It’s also a facility for Gippslanders who might want to transition their career,” Mr Rettino said.

The Hub is funded with $595,000 from the Federal Government and is a partnership with GELLEN, Federation University, East Gippsland Shire Council and TAFE Gippsland.

The Australian Government has committed $74.2 million to fund up to 33 Regional University Centres across Australia, nine of those in Victoria.

Run at the former high school site on Dalmahoy Street, the Study Hub is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for registered students.

IMAGE: The Gippsland East Higher Education Study Hub was officially opened last Friday by Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester. From left are Federation University Head of Campus Gippsland, Leigh Kennedy, East Gippsland Shire Council’s Sharon Raguse, TAFE Gippsland partnerships broker, Joe Rettino, and Gippsland East Local Learning and Employment Network executive officer, Jane Ponting. K439-3522