La Trobe University has partnered with Bendigo Kangan Institute, SuniTAFE in Mildura and Wodonga Tafe in an innovative agreement to share resources, teaching, and expertise to benefit local students and the community.
The Bendigo Kangan partnership will offer nursing education in Bendigo and Melbourne, while TAFEs in Albury-Wodonga and Mildura will join forces on nursing, social work and early childhood.
Under the new agreement, students will be able to co-enrol in Diplomas and Degrees that will enable a seamless pathway to gaining both qualifications.
Students will have the flexibility of either completing a Diploma and entering the work force, or they can choose to continue studying and graduate with both a TAFE Diploma and a La Trobe University Degree.
If after entering the workforce students want to return to study, the pathway is already cemented and it will be simply a matter of picking up from where they left off.
Professor Richard Speed, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Regional), said La Trobe University was committed to a long-term strategy of breaking down barriers between between regional university campuses and TAFEs.
He said the new agreements would strengthen the provision of health, early childhood and nursing services in regional areas by producing more graduates who had both TAFE and University experience and also meet the rising demand for diverse qualified professionals in these industries.
"It makes perfect sense for local tertiary education to work closely together to the benefit of local students," Professor Speed said.
"By combining resources student will have greater access to different types of learning spaces, equipment and teaching expertise that are available across both institutions. It will mean a richer and more rewarding experience for students."
Mark Dixon, Chief Executive Officer of Wodonga Institute of TAFE, is looking forward to the powerful outcomes for TAFE students.
"This initiative is both unique and exciting," Mr Dixon said.
"By leveraging the expertise from within both Wodonga Institute of TAFE and La Trobe University, our students will experience a fully integrated and supported pathway from their TAFE studies into University studies like never seen before in our region.
"Linking vocational education and higher education in such a co-ordinated and integrated way will not only enhance the student tertiary education experience, but will minimise attrition and improve learning and employment outcomes."
According to Amanda Brook, Interim CEO of Bendigo Kangan Institute, this agreement creates new opportunities to support Victoria's healthcare needs.
"Our partnership with La Trobe University offers greater choice to Victoria's nurses of the future," said Ms Brook.
"It will help to encourage more Victorians into nursing through both our Bendigo TAFE and Kangan Institute campuses. It will also give nursing students more options. They will be able to pursue the career pathway that is right for them.
"Ultimately, that will mean a larger, more talented pool of qualified nurses to meet our community's rapidly growing healthcare needs."
Win Scott, Chief Executive Officer of SuniTAFE said the program was "a credit" to the La Trobe team.
"It takes time and resources to develop a joint program like this and La Trobe University have committed the resources to make it happen.
"For students there are real benefits. By completing a diploma as the first year of their degree, they will be able to seek part-time work while they study. This will assist them financially and make them more employable because of their work experience."
About La Trobe University
La Trobe University is regional Victoria's largest University educator, with campuses also located in Shepparton, Bendigo and Mildura, along with a campus in the northern suburbs of Melbourne and the CBD.
Tim Mitchell, Director, Media and Communications
M: 0437 457780