The Australian | 5 December 2013
Four institutions now talking
Victoria’s Advance TAFE and GippsTAFE are involved in talks with eastern Melbourne’s Chisholm Institute and the dual-sector University of Ballarat “to explore the best fit in terms of organisational objectives and stakeholder needs”.
Apparently, negotiations between Advance and GippsTAFE are well advanced, with “a number of points of agreement” reached in areas such as curriculum-based collaboration and “back office sharing”.
Advance CEO Shaun McDonagh said the institutions wanted to choose their partners before considering what the partnerships might look like, with mergers being a possibility.
McDonagh said the collaborations were being driven by the Gippsland Tertiary Education Plan and “the ebbs and flows of industries and sectors”, as well as financial sustainability and the state government’s reform agenda. He said he expected the agencies’ respective boards to identify the “preferred partner or partners” by early next year.
I don’t think any entity or nature of relationship can or should be ruled out at this time. Ultimately it’s a process of arriving at the best fit between organisations.
Arrangements will largely hinge on the success of applications to the $200 million TAFE Structural Reform Fund. Announcements are expected around March.
Victorian TAFE mergers have been widely mooted as an inevitable consequence of Victoria’s market-based skills reforms. The state government says it’s up to institutes to decide such matters, but critics say harsh and ad-hoc funding cuts and rampant private sector competition have made small regional institutes unviable.
You’d have to think that Bendigo Institute of TAFE would be casting around and just perhaps talking with the soon to be Fed U.