Uni study hub in the works

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

A cen­tralised univer­sity study hub is in the works for the Pil­bara, with a spe­cial­ist re­gional provider mak­ing moves to open a sec­ond cam­pus in the Kar­ratha CBD as another univer­sity model pre­vi­ously slated for the area re­mains on hold.

Af­ter be­ing based at the North Re­gional TAFE com­plex since 2014, CQUniver­sity is in ne­go­ti­a­tions to ex­pand into premises in cen­tral Kar­ratha, with the Kar­ratha Quar­ter one of the pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions.

The univer­sity has as­sem­bled an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee, in­clud­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Kar­ratha’s high schools, the Kar­ratha and Dis­tricts Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, and the Pil­bara De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion, and could be op­er­at­ing its cen­tral cam­pus by se­mes­ter 1 next year with cour­ses in en­gi­neer­ing, nurs­ing and tourism among those on of­fer.

CQUniver­sity study hub co-or­di­na­tor Sharyn Hear­son said Kar­ratha’s grow­ing school leaver pop­u­la­tion would be the fo­cus of a cen­tral cam­pus, with fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing video con­fer­enc­ing, tu­to­rial rooms and in-per­son ad­min­is­tra­tive and pas­toral sup­port de­signed to as­sist their study.

“CQU are cur­rently look­ing to con­tinue to ex­pand their pres­ence and stu­dent fa­cil­i­ties to repli­cate a more tra­di­tional univer­sity at­mos­phere,” she said.

“(We) are strong sup­port­ers of the cre­ation of a univer­sity cen­tre in the Pil­bara and have a com­mit­ment to be­ing a fun­da­men­tal con­stituent and provider in any fu­ture ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment.”

The CQU hub would be sim­i­lar to one pro­posed by Ger­ald­ton Uni­ver­si­ties Cen­tre, for which a fea­si­bil­ity study was done last year but which is on hold af­ter a change in its fund­ing from the State to Fed­eral Govern­ment.

CQU would be the lead provider for that cen­tre if it was to go ahead.

Ger­ald­ton Uni­ver­si­ties Cen­tre di­rec­tor Natalie Nelmes said the cen­tre was still in­ter­ested in es­tab­lish­ing a fa­cil­ity in the Pil­bara, but the plan was await­ing a Govern­ment de­ci­sion on cen­tre lo­ca­tions as well as firm com­mu­nity sup­port.

Du­rack MHR Melissa Price said she sup­ported the Pil­bara as a good lo­ca­tion for a univer­sity cen­tre un­der Fed­eral fund­ing.

“The Pil­bara seems well-placed to get a uni­ver­si­ties cen­tre, but the com­mu­nity needs to come to­gether now and start work­ing to­wards it,” she said.

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