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Kangan and Bendigo to “merge”

15  May 2014

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TAFE back office jobs are expected to be culled as part of a planned merger announced between Victoria’s regional Bendigo TAFE and the major Melbourne-based Kangan Institute.

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BendigoBendigo is operating at barely break-even in the wake of state government funding cuts and a lack of scale in regional markets, which has seen Bendigo TAFE shed jobs and courses and close campuses.

The TAFEs say the amalgamation will strengthen and expand the delivery of education and training in central Victoria. Bendigo TAFE Board Chair Margaret O’Rourke said

The merger will lead to a revitalisation and growth of the region’s training sector, with long-term and far-reaching benefits for individuals, industry and the wider community. This includes providing current students, school leavers, existing workers and employers with more choice about the training they can undertake.

The new institute plans to focus on three areas of training, in automotive, fashion and design and health and all 10 campuses will be retained. The plan is to offer about 55 Kangan courses at Bendigo campuses and develop a Centre of Excellence in Health and Human Services, aligned with the Bendigo Hospital now under redevelopment. .

The merger is now dependent on the approval of the Napthine state government. It is also conditional on securing funding from the state government’s $200 million TAFE Structural Adjustment Fund.

The fund is designed to support the public vocational education sector, hard hit by funding cuts and the introduction of private competition for government training subsidies. Last year half the state’s TAFEs lost money.

While the TAFEs say the proposal had received “overwhelmingly positive feedback” from business and education leaders in Bendigo, local Labor MPs, Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards said the merger would be a Melbourne TAFE takeover and would be a betrayal of the Bendigo community.

This decision has been made behind closed doors without the Bendigo community being given the opportunity to have their say. A recent survey found that 66% of local residents opposed a Melbourne take-over of Bendigo TAFE, with a further 20% unsure about its impact.

See
Bendigo TAFE and Kangan Institute agree to merge

 

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