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Students completing the Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management course at TAFE NSW Menindee. Please note: Photo was taken prior to NSW COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
TAFE NSW is responding to the needs of remote communities in Western NSW by delivering targeted courses that provide pathways into jobs or resonate strongly with local residents.
TAFE NSW gathered extensive feedback last year from employers and communities throughout Western and Far Western NSW in order to tailor courses at its remote campuses in 2021.
Regional General Manager for TAFE NSW’s West region, Adam Bennett, said the positive effect in many of these small communities has been immediate.
“We’re tapping into what these communities are passionate about and it’s working,” Mr Bennett said.
“We’re also aligning our courses to take advantage of local job opportunities, so people can make a direct link between what they want to study and the work that’s available to them.”
In Menindee, TAFE NSW has launched a new Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management to address a growing demand from the Barkandji Native Title Group Aboriginal Corporation.
The Barkandji Native Title claim is the largest in NSW and the traditional owners are employing the first ‘River Rangers’ in the country to work with local land councils and state agencies to help conserve the Darling River.
“Making these direct links between our courses and local employment opportunities has a real and lasting effect in these communities,” Mr Bennett said.
“There is a recognition within TAFE NSW that people in rural and remote communities have different needs and characteristics than their city counterparts. TAFE NSW wants to respond to those needs and make available courses that address regional skills shortages and target areas of jobs growth.”
In Brewarrina, Wellington and Warren, TAFE NSW has responded to business feedback about an emerging skills shortage across NSW in the hospitality sector.
TAFE NSW is now offering a hybrid Statement of Attainment in Hospitality Essentials which delivers several micro-credentials in one short course including food handling, responsible service of alcohol, responsible conduct of gambling and barista skills.
Already several people in Brewarrina have gone on to find work at the local RSL club and cafes.
“This is really innovative because it broadens the types of employment local people can find and for employers it provides staff that are more flexible within a single workplace,” Mr Bennett said.
“It’s an excellent example of being flexible and responding to business and industry needs immediately.”
Mr Bennett said TAFE NSW was also improving access to education for people living in Western and Far Western NSW by increasing support for students.
“We have well-trained Education Support Officers who provide pastoral care and have ongoing conversations about barriers to student learning,” Mr Bennett explained.
“At TAFE NSW we strive to understand the individual student’s journey, so we can support them when life throws obstacles in the way of their education.
“Our goal is to grow a greater sense of community and a network of support for people in these remote locations. The relationships our Education Support Officers develop with our students, sometimes before they even begin study, is phenomenal.”
TAFE NSW offers life-changing training and career pathways with hundreds of courses to choose from. For more information, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.
Media contact: Terra Sword, Communications Specialist. Phone: 02 6623 0325. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.