Over­seas stu­dents wait

AgLife - - News -

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.

Pic­ture: DEAN LAW­SON

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.

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