Targeting regional skills shortages

La Trobe University has welcomed a $1 million contribution from the Victorian State Government to target skills shortages and boost higher education participation in central and northern Victoria.

Bendigo rural health building and studentsStaff at La Trobe University’s Bendigo Campus will partner with Bendigo TAFE and Bendigo Senior Secondary College to deliver the Partnerships for Participation Pilot project, which will deliver targeted advice to secondary school students across the region as well as improve their connection with local tertiary education providers. 

Funded under the Victorian Government’s Regional Partnerships Facilitation Fund, the University will establish a Pathways Education Hub, where year 10, 11 and 12 students can get individualised advice on education and career options.

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar welcomed the funding announcement from the State Government and praised their commitment to education in regional Victoria.

‘We are confident that this initiative will make a real difference, both for students who will have more local opportunities to take up higher education, and for local businesses who will have more access to young people trained in areas of skills need,’ Professor Dewar said.

‘University staff will work closely with industry and educational partners to trial and appraise a range of programs to address the region’s agricultural and early childhood education and care needs. We will also work closely with Bendigo TAFE to ensure that our courses are delivered flexibly and support student learning needs,’ he said.

Professor Dewar said the agricultural sector made a significant contribution to employment, growth and investment in Victoria, but was experiencing declining course enrolments at the university level - putting the sector at risk of being unable to meet future labour force demands.

He also highlighted the need to work closely with local industry partners in the early childhood education and care sector.

‘This program will help industry to attract and retain highly skilled professionals from within their local community and help ensure these crucial sectors have a strong future,’ he said. 

La Trobe University and its partners will appraise the program at the end of 24 month and determine if it could be expanded into other regional areas.

Media contact

Tim Mitchell | M 0437 457 780