Home' Be : Issue 10 Contents the University, enhance professional outcomes in the region
and create better pathways for lifelong lear ning. "It will
really bring together all the post-school education in Central
Queensland, and it will mean that there's a one-stop shop for
all the post-school education needs for our communities, for
industry," he says.
One of the key benefits of such a partnership is that it
would enable students to more easily switch between tertiary
courses and vocational education and training (VET). According
to Professor Bowman, the benefits to industry in Central
Queensland would be significant, as buoyant resources
companies seek to recr uit and retain talent in the coal and gas-
rich Bowen and Galilee basins. "It's about keeping talent here,
but I think we've got to go much further than that," he says.
Powers of attraction
"If you have a look at Central Queensland, it's such a
powerhouse of Australia. [The region is] actually going to have
to attract talent, so I see this as something that would attract
people from other states to come and train in the VET part of
the Uni or do higher education that would meet the needs of
Central Queensland. There's such a massive boom here with the
coal industry and the coal seam gas industry. We'll be needing
to educate lots of people in areas such as fitting and turning
and engineering. So, we're going to need a very attractive dual-
sector university that will bring people in from Victoria and
New South Wales to study here."
The proposed new model has received strong support from
regional business leaders. Narelle Pearse, managing director
of the Mackay Area Industry Network (MAIN) says a dual-sector
university would represent a major step forward for education
and industry in the region. "It's about a coordinated approach
to education in Central Queensland," she says. "Obviously
we're nowhere near as big as places like Brisbane, Sydney
and Melbourne, which have various established sandstone
universities and a population to match, so it's about being
smarter about education up here."
Careers on course
Pearse says the CQUni-CQIT alignment will help to address
skills shortages in the region. "It's about making people work-
ready by potentially having a combination of (tertiary and
practical TAFE experiences). It will give people a different choice
around education and, hopefully, we'll retain people here by
having that stronger connection to industry. I think it will also
highlight career paths within our region."
According to Pearse, the resources boom in the region has
accentuated the need for a combination of trade and tertiary-
skilled workers. "There's no use just having trade-qualified
people, because companies are expanding so quickly. We need
people who have higher education as well, with an ability to
strategically manage growth."
If the Queensland alliance gains approval, it will draw
from some of the lessons of the Victoria and Norther n Territory
projects. University of Ballarat and Swinburne University of
Technology have engaged in research with the National Tertiary
Education Union and the Australia Education Union to explore an
alternative regulatory model for dual-sector institutions.
One of the lead researchers, Professor Peter Matthews
of the University of Ballarat, says four key areas have been
under scrutiny in line with efforts to cut red tape. Under
investigation are models for the inter nal gover nance of dual-
sector institutions, the exter nal relationships between the
institutions and their funding sources, industrial relations
and "pedagogical" [educational or teaching] concerns. "Each
of those, we realised, overlapped each other and if you tinkered
with one you had an impact normally across the other three,"
Matthews says. "There is a ripple effect throughout the whole
system from whichever part you attack."
Following consultations with vice-chancellors,
researchers and union representatives, Matthews and his
colleagues released a draft paper with their findings early in
2010. Apart from red tape, it indicated that there's room for
greater cooperation between the aligned entities. "They'd
all experimented with different ways of coming together,
but in the main they really function as two separate bits in
the one room and there was a general acceptance that there
was some things that really weren't serving students well."
"IT WILL MEAN THAT
THERE'S A ONE-
STOP SHOP FOR ALL
NEEDS FOR OUR
-- SCOTT BOWMAN,
Vice-Chancellor Scott Bowman and Central Queensland
Institute of TAFE Director Nic Babovic sign up for collaboration.
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