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NMIT rebranded as “Melbourne Polytechnic”

The Australian      |      3 October  2014

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The financially troubled Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE, which lost almost $32 million in 2013, has received a $19 million grant from the state government and rebranded itself Melbourne Polytechnic. It is the last of the big Victorian TAFEs to ditch the TAFE brand, with most of the TAFEs now styled as “institutes” and the four Victorian dual sector universities having exited the the state TAFE system in January.

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Melb Poly

Interim CEO Ron Gauci says the name change is a strategy to reach out to Europe and Asia, rather than a rejection of the TAFE title. While the federal government’s planned deregulation of higher education would largely level the playing field in degree-level education, the institute’s name change would be beneficial.

Those in academic circles appreciate exactly where dual-sector institutes are heading now under the banner of polytechnic, and how appealing and globally acceptable the term is in Asia and Europe.

And he says the now Melbourne Polytechnic had already turned the corner before the government grant from the $200m TAFE Structural Adjustment Fund.

He acknowledged that NMIT had been “on the brink” early this year, but had enjoyed “significant” success since then. He said the institute was turning a profit by August after implementing new reporting systems, transforming its executive and making other staffing changes.

“It’s an important day for the institution, not only as a name change. It allows us to move forward with hope, knowing that investment is supporting the infrastructural changes that need to take place. We now have the investment required to fulfil that potential we have as a 100 year-old institute.”

He said the money would be used to improve the institute’s online delivery and improve business processes.

He said NMIT’s woes had been sparked not by Victoria’s switch to an open training market, so much as NMIT’s tardy reaction. “When contestability came into the marketplace, we fell behind other institutes in taking the necessary steps to become competitive.”

Skills Minister Nick Wakeling cited NMIT as an example of the competition facing TAFEs since they were exposed to private sector competition from 2009. “(It) went from being the principle provider of training in its catchment area to having 187  competitors,” he said.

 

See
Green light to NMIT transformation

 

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