New courses and students after merger

POSITIVE: Peter Coyne in Bendigo on Friday.

POSITIVE: Peter Coyne in Bendigo on Friday.

BENDIGO TAFE will offer about 50 new courses if a merger is approved, according to interim chief executive Peter Coyne.

The TAFE and Melbourne-based Kangan Institute are seeking government approval for the merger, which is likely to be considered next week.

Mr Coyne said despite opposition concerns over jobs and course offerings, the merger would be positive for Bendigo.

“We initially see an expansion of about 50 course offerings,” he said.

“What that will be determined by is market demand.

“What we’re doing is winning back the market share that we’ve lost to the private registered training organisations since 2008.”

The TAFE has cut courses and made dozens of workers redundant.

The last round of cuts in November saw 47 staff offered redundancies.

Mr Coyne said he expected the merger to create new jobs.

“We are expecting an expansion of courses and more students on campus here,” he said.

“I’ve said from day one, arriving back in Bendigo, that our campuses need to be busier, they need to be more vibrant and that’s an outcome I expect we will achieve from this merger.

“So really, that should ultimately mean job growth.”

Mr Coyne said he expected Melbourne students to undertake studies in Bendigo, with automotive and health key areas. An allied health service will be created at the central Bendigo campus to take advantage of the Bendigo Hospital redevelopment, he said.

“The early indications yesterday through our teachers were that from a student perspective, the governance and the commercial operational matters aren’t really of enormous concern from them," Mr Coyne said. 

“What they’re interested in, rightly, is the opportunity, the breadth of courses and the quality of their learning.

“So when they graduate from Bendigo TAFE, they graduate with a certificate that really indicates to future employers that they’ve been really well-trained.” 

Government ministers are likely to consider the merger proposal on Monday. 

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