Wodonga TAFE and La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga are excited to partner for a new initiative that will benefit the Early Childhood Education and Care sector.
Funding donated by Wodonga businessman and former Chair of the Wodonga College of TAFE council, Mr Jim Sawyer, is part of an agreement that underpins the 3-year pilot, ‘Grow Early Childhood and Human Services Careers Program’.
The program will facilitate students’ journeys from Certificate III to Diploma to Degree qualifications involving education providers, industry partners and mentoring support to students as they progress to their Bachelor qualifications.
Diploma and Degree students will have employment options to enable them to ‘earn as they learn’ and establish relationships with employers as they define their career paths. Industry partners involved in the pilot program will benefit from supported traineeships and upgrading of existing staff qualifications.
As a passionate advocate for education and our local region, Mr Sawyer said the aim of his collaborative project is to create meaningful pathways between TAFE and university for students.
Mr Sawyer said, “Both university and TAFE have their great strengths. University provides the research and higher theoretical and academic learning, and TAFE provides the foundation knowledge and understanding, underpinned by practical hands-on learning and experiences. Joining these two together, whether it is pathways articulated into university from TAFE, or articulation from university to TAFE, will create fantastic learning and employment outcomes for students.”
Wodonga TAFE’s CEO, Mr Phil Paterson, said combining the power of TAFE and university educations underpins the traineeship and industry model to be employed throughout the program.
“This means from Certificate III, Diploma to a Bachelor’s degree, students will garner industry and workplace experience, all whilst being paid. This is particularly important in our current employment market where choosing to study doesn’t mean reduced working hours and reduced incomes.”
Dr Guinever Threlkeld, Head of La Trobe University’s Albury-Wodonga Campus said, “The program will commence with a strong focus on Early Childhood Education and Care. This sector is currently facing significant challenges in retaining a suitably qualified workforce. Early Childhood Education and Care are vital to individual lives and to economic growth. Together with Wodonga TAFE, we want to build on the strengths of the sector to support sustainable career paths and growth in this crucial industry.”
Ms Josie Haddrick, Director of Philanthropy at La Trobe University said, “We all thank Mr Sawyer for his generosity and foresight in supporting the GROW initiative. The pathways GROW develops for students will benefit the whole community.”