Merger aims to grow education sector

PREMIER: Denis Napthine announces funding for the TAFE merger in Bendigo. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

PREMIER: Denis Napthine announces funding for the TAFE merger in Bendigo. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

RELATED: Opposition: TAFE funding comes too late

A CONFIRMED merger between Bendigo TAFE and Kangan Institute promises new learning methods and job security.

Premier Denis Napthine announced $64 million towards the combined TAFE in Bendigo on Friday following news of a proposed merger in April. 

Dr Napthine said the merger would add value to Bendigo TAFE.

"We are adding the tradition and history of Bendigo TAFE to the expertise and skills of the Kangan Institute and the support of the state government," he said.

This is a fantastic outcome which will attract more people to Bendigo to study... - Denis Napthine

Dr Napthine said up to 55 additional courses would be offered in Bendigo with a key focus on health, engineering and management.

“This is an exciting announcement for students in Bendigo and the north west, with a whole range of new education options for people to choose from,” he said.

“Importantly, subject to the completion of a business case, this package includes $25 million to revitalise the McCrae Street campus."

Dr Napthine said a new Centre of Excellence for Health and Human Services would be established at the McCrae street campus.

“This initiative has strong local support, with the Bendigo Kangan Institute to work in partnership with La Trobe University and the Coalition government's $630-million Bendigo Hospital to develop this centre of excellence," he said.

“This is a fantastic outcome which will attract more people to Bendigo to study, with great sustainable employment opportunities at the nearby hospital and associated health, aged care and disability services."

Dr Napthine said the merger would create jobs in Bendigo, including new vocational trainers and educational support staff as well as construction jobs during development of the centre.

Minister for Higher Education and Skills Nick Wakeling said all existing campuses would remain open and under the same branding.

“Board meetings for the new institute will alternate between Bendigo and Melbourne,” Mr Wakeling said.

The new institute is due to be finalised by July 1. Its head office and CEO will be based in Bendigo.

Bendigo TAFE lost about 200 fixed-term, sessional and permanent staff and its Kyneton campus closed after state government funding cuts in 2012.

The TAFE's Bendigo child care centre, BRIT Beginners, closed on March 31 this year.

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