Positive outlook for Bendigo TAFE

BENDIGO TAFE is hoping to maintain its campuses and says it has higher enrolments than this time last year, despite budget cuts that put the organisation’s future in doubt.

About 11,000 students are expected to enrol at the TAFE this year, with all courses reopening except for fitness and business management, chief executive Maria Simpson said.

Ms Simpson said last year’s $9 million shortfall to the annual budget put the TAFE in a “difficult situation”, with staff cuts leaving 84 employees redundant.

“There has had to be an extremely thorough review of everything we do,” she said.

“But we want to retain a TAFE industry in Bendigo and we’re still certainly here.”

A business transition plan put to government is hoping to maintain the TAFE’s autonomy on funding decisions.

An asset review will also look at how the TAFE maintain all its campuses this year, which cost approximately $4 million in depreciation value each year.

“We have to make those funds up every year,” Ms Simpson said. 

“There’s a complete review that’s still being undertaken. We’re looking at more rental streams, to rent out campus buildings and develop more partnerships.”

Ms Simpson said she was confident the training provider would have a more stable year this year, and remain “viable and competitive”.

“Despite all the difficulties we had to work through last year we ended up in a profit, which was a pleasing outcome, given everything that happened,” she said.

“We have new courses this year, including refrigeration, which is a new course for this region.”

“We’re pleased to see the applications as strong as they are at the moment and we believe the community is showing faith in the services we provide.”

The state government-appointed review panel will look over Bendigo TAFE’s transition plan over the coming weeks. 

An information night is to be held at the TAFE’s Echuca campus on Thursday from 5-8pm.

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