Ter­tiary cen­tre gets buy-in

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

An ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee to over­see de­vel­op­ment of a Pil­bara uni­ver­si­ties cen­tre based in Kar­ratha could be as­sem­bled im­mi­nently, af­ter coun­cil ap­proval for the idea.

At their meet­ing last week, City of Kar­ratha coun­cil­lors voted in favour of a sup­ported dis­tance ed­u­ca­tion ser­vice mod­elled on the suc­cess­ful Ger­ald­ton Uni­ver­si­ties Cen­tre.

The model would pro­vide lo­cal tu­to­ri­als and ad­min­is­tra­tive and pas­toral sup­port for stu­dents oth­er­wise tak­ing dis­tance ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses with part­ner uni­ver­si­ties, all lo­cated at a cen­tral cam­pus.

Coun­cil­lors ac­cepted the re­sults of the fea­si­bil­ity study fi­nalised by GUC in Au­gust and ap­pointed coun­cil­lor Fiona White-Har­tig as the coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tive on a com­mu­nity-based ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee for the project.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said a Pil­bara uni­ver­si­ties cen­tre would go a long way to pro­vide more high-qual­ity ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties in the re­gion.

“The prospect of a uni­ver­si­ties cen­tre here in Kar­ratha is very ex­cit­ing and coun­cil is pleased to be able to offer our sup­port to keep mov­ing for­ward with these plans,” he said. “The Ger­ald­ton Uni­ver­si­ties Cen­tre, which the Kar­ratha pro­posal is based on, has been very suc­cess­ful and gives us hope that we can get this off the ground.”

The re­sults of the PUC fea­si­bil­ity study showed about 120 stu­dents could po­ten­tially be en­rolled at such a cen­tre within five years of it be­ing es­tab­lished and there was high­est de­mand for cour­ses in health, man­age­ment and com­merce and so­ci­ety and cul­ture.

Classes could po­ten­tially start from Semester 2 next year.

GUC di­rec­tor Natalie Nelmes said City sup­port for the cen­tre was a cat­a­lyst for for­mally es­tab­lish­ing the ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee.

Ms Nelmes said lo­cal com­mu­nity sup­port was a key re­quire­ment for the cen­tre’s fu­ture suc­cess.

“This buy-in comes in two forms: it’s the com­mu­nity cham­pi­ons who will stand up and ad­vo­cate pas­sion­ately for ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion ac­cess in the Pil­bara, as well as the buy-in through lob­by­ing for the fund­ing that is needed for the es­tab­lish­ment and con­tin­ued sup­port for such a cen­tre once it is re­alised,” she said.

Ms Nelmes said the com­mit­tee would con­sist of a “wide cross­sec­tion” of in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions com­mit­ted to bet­ter­ing ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties and ca­pac­ity in the Pil­bara, in­clud­ing high schools, Kar­ratha and Dis­tricts Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, lo­cal in­dus­try and the Pil­bara De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion.

“The ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee would be our con­duit for un­der­stand­ing the needs and as­pi­ra­tions of Pil­bara com­mu­ni­ties,” she said.

“In the first in­stance they would be driv­ing the fund­ing for, and es­tab­lish­ment of, the cen­tre, and then go­ing on to ad­vise on im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tions like gaps in pro­fes­sions and the work­force, needs for fur­ther course de­vel­op­ment (and more).”

Ms Nelmes said elected com­mit­tee rep­re­sen­ta­tives would be en­cour­aged to sit on GUC’s Ger­ald­ton In­sti­tute board to have a lo­cal voice and de­ci­sion-mak­ing pow­ers.

Picture: Ali­cia Per­era

Ger­ald­ton Uni­ver­si­ties Cen­tre staff Bren­dan Pen­zer and Natalie Nelmes in Kar­ratha ear­lier this year, with St Luke's Col­lege stu­dents Brock Crowhurst, 14, and Toby Ma­son, 15.

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