Overseas students wait
Longerenong College officials hope to know early in the new year if they have been successful in a Federal Government application to provide agricultural study opportunities for overseas students.
College business development officer Donna Winfield said the historic school near Dooen, north of Horsham, had completed an audit as part of an effort to win a place on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students, CRICOS.
“At this stage we don’t expect to hear anything until early next year after the Christmas and New Year’s break. But we’re hopeful we get a positive response,” she said.
The college had wanted to open the door to overseas students from as early as next year as part of a long-term expansion plan, but needed time to collect further details to strengthen its case.
It now has sights on offering courses to international students from 2018.
The move is likely to significantly bolster student numbers, dramatically expand the college’s direction and dynamics and open the door for greater tertiary-based investment in the region. The application is also in response to a growing number of inquiries from overseas students.
Longerenong College, operated by Skillinvest, provides vocational training through Advanced Diploma of Agriculture and Certificate IV in Agriculture as well as many other agricultural-based courses.
This year it had 90 full-time students studying for diploma or certificate qualifications.
The college is undergoing a major evolution as a state-ofthe-art agricultural institution.
Its latest project is a $1-million upgrade of the school’s agribusiness centre which follows hot on the heels of a $4.47-million upgrade of student accommodation facilities opened earlier this year.
Longerenong College has provided agricultural training for the Australian domestic market for 127 years. It has endured extreme highs and lows and at one stage was threatened with closure.
A college open day in August attracted one of its biggest student responses in many years.
Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke said agricultural education was critical for the future of the industry.
“Any developments or facilities that can improve the international standard of education not only benefits students but the industry as a whole in the sharing of knowledge around the world,” he said.
MOVING AHEAD: Senator Fiona Nash discusses Longerenong College developments with Member for Mallee Andrew Broad, left, and the college’s Barry Ray during the opening of an upgraded student accommodation wing earlier this year.