NEW and existing students enrolled in some Wodonga TAFE courses will now be guaranteed entry to La Trobe University degree programs.
The education providers have reached an agreement aimed at getting more rural residents to embark on university study.
La Trobe University pro vice-chancellor (regional) Professor Richard Speed said the agreement was good news for students who wanted to live and study locally.
“We’ve had pathways from La Trobe to TAFE for many years,” he said.
“What we’ve effectively done is flip them around.”
Professor Speed said previously the university had told prospective students it was possible for them to apply for a La Trobe course after finishing their TAFE studies.
“What we’ve said now is ‘we’re going to offer you a place and you’re very welcome to get involved in the university from the minute you arrive at the TAFE’,” he said.
The agreement covers courses in the health, education and business sectors.
It also applies to students already enrolled at Wodonga TAFE.
Professor Speed said La Trobe and Wodonga TAFE would continue to work together to find more and better ways to deliver courses on the Border.
“If our relationship with Wodonga TAFE ends on this agreement then we’re wasting each other’s time,” Professor Speed said.
Wodonga TAFE chief executive Michael O’Loughlin said the agreement was another positive step towards recognising the role vocational education and training could play.
“What we know is that for a number of reasons some people are not ready to go straight into university,” he said.
“However, by coming to Wodonga TAFE, students gain invaluable knowledge and skills in a highly supportive manner.
“So when the time comes to move on to university, these students are not only prepared to manage the university way of life, but are often the highest of achievers.”
Both Mr O’Loughlin and Professor Speed said because the two institutions were located next to each other in Wod-onga, a closer relationship made a lot of sense.
Professor Speed said universities had to get “a lot smarter”.
“The changes that are coming for the TAFE and university sectors require us all to think very hard on how we deliver the best possible outcomes for the whole community,” he said.
“Federal and state governments are not interested in having us mess them around.”
Professor Speed said the federal government in particular had made it clear to universities they needed to become more efficient and effective in what they did.