Bega’s new $7 million TAFE campus will be ready for students in February 2019.
Member for Bega Andrew Constance and the Minister responsible for TAFE NSW Adam Marshall have turned the first sod on the new Auckland Street site in the shadow of the old Bega Hospital.
For the time being, this state-of-the-art Connected Learning Centre will work in conjunction with the existing Bega TAFE campus on Barrack Street.
“This truly delivers an education precinct in the heart of Bega, between the University of Wollongong, our agricultural high school, and now TAFE – all next to each other. This will lead to synergies and opportunities that standing here today, we can’t predict,” Mr Constance says.
“Students at this new digitally-powered facility will be able to connect into TAFE NSW’s state-wide network of campuses and courses, empowering them with more choice when it comes to launching their career.
“World-class learning facilities and a broader range of courses without being forced to travel long distances to places like Cooma, Moruya or Nowra,” Mr Constance says.
As the Assistant Minister for Skills, Mr Marshall says the new campus represents the future of learning in NSW.
“This is one of 13 Connected Learning Centres that TAFE is constructing across regional NSW, we opened the first four late last year and early this year,” he says.
“Three additional Connected Learning Centres have just been completed – Corowa, Deniliquin, and Narrandera. Bega will be the next one in the state.”
Mr Marshall says the first four centres are offering double the number of courses which has resulted in a 30% increase in student numbers.
“In the past, if there were only one or two students that wanted to study a particular course it probably wouldn’t have been offered here,” he says.
“But now we can offer that course because those one or two students in Bega can come into the CLC and they can connect with one or two students studying at Deniliquin, who connect with one or two students studying at Tenterfield, or at Coonabarabran or Glen Innes and all of a sudden you’ve got a class that will be taught by a teacher based here or somewhere else.
“It gives students the opportunity to study a course in Bega that might not have been able to be offered before,” he says.
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Posted by About Regional on Thursday, August 2, 2018
TAFE classrooms on Barrack Street will continue to operate a number of courses, however, the future of that site will continue to be assessed as the CLC takes shape.
“Hospitality, for instance, will remain down there [Barrack Street] given the facility that is up and running,” Mr Constance says.
Construction starts this week and will be finished in February ready for students.
Adjoining land on the corner of Auckland Street and McKee Drive has been earmarked for an as yet unfunded second stage. Mr Marshall says that project might see facilities currently at Barrack Street move.
“That is yet to be determined, we just need to wait and see how we go.”
As for the future of the old Bega District Hospital next door, Mr Constance says NSW Health is still working through options.
“There is master planning that is happening on site in conjunction with Bega Valley Shire Council, ultimately the Health Minister is going to have to dip into to the budget to clean up the site, that’s all being worked through separately.”
“TAFE has come in and taken first dips on the vision of this being an education precinct right through the heart of Bega,” Mr Constance says.
*This story first appeared on About Regional