THE University of Ballarat is in talks with six TAFE institutes to form a super TAFE as early as next year.
The move would see the University of Ballarat collaborate with Sunraysia TAFE, GippsTAFE, Advance TAFE, Wodonga TAFE, GoTAFE and Bendigo TAFE to offer Vocational Education and Training (VET) subjects.
University of Ballarat’s vice chancellor Professor David Battersby said the move may be an opportunity to rebuild the cash-stripped VET sector in the future.
“I’d like to think in the longer terms, particularly around VET, there is an opportunity to rebuild and to offer some of those programs which we had to cease or which are projected to cease as a result of TAFE funding cuts (in the recent state budget),” Professor Battersby said.
“There might be an opportunity to reinvigorate some of these programs by having large numbers of students across regional Victoria.”
Named the Menzies Alliance, the group would cover 80 per cent of regional Victoria.
Professor Battersby told The Courier the university was presenting a paper to the state government next month about the proposal.
He said the partnership was an extension of a 2009 arrangement which saw the six TAFE institutes offer University of Ballarat undergraduate degree programs at their campuses.
Last year, the university received $29.1 million from both the federal and state governments to implement the program. But, Professor Battersby said, the latest move did not constitute a merger.
“We will remain autonomous,” he said.
“It is across six regional institutes but not all the (28) campuses will be offering the programs (because) some of those campuses are relatively small.”
Professor Battersby said the push to offer VET programs collectively was driven in part by the $300 million cuts in funding
Australian Education Union, TAFE and Adult provision vice president Greg Barclay said they would need to have a closer look at the details.
“We need to know how it is being offered, who is being employed to do it and what industrial arrangements they are employed under,” Mr Barclay said.
A union delegation, he said, was set to meet with University of Ballarat officials next week to discuss the Menzies project.
“We are hoping the meeting will shed more light on the project,” he said.
“And that we will be given an opportunity to give feedback on any proposal that they may have.”