|3 October 2017
Enhancement of education opportunities on the West Coast is firmly on the agenda following a series of meetings in recent weeks.
Discussions between stakeholders including local businesses, schools, TasTAFE and UTAS have reconfirmed that West Coasters see provision of opportunities relating to education and training as a key matter in building our community.
“UTAS and TasTAFE have given strong indications of a willingness to have a presence on the West Coast, whilst our local schools have started thinking about different ways of delivering education to make the most of the resources available,” West Coast Mayor Phil Vickers said.
Council is pleased to see all stakeholders prepared to listen and work together with the aim of delivering on an item that was a key discussion point during the extensive community engagement completed by Council to create the West Coast Community Plan 2025.
“The community was not backwards in telling us that improved access to education – at all levels – was important in developing our youth, ensuring we had a skilled workforce and could attract people to the region to live,” The Mayor said. “It also became evident that key stakeholders in education and training weren’t necessarily communicating with each other – or the people of the West Coast. As a result of this feedback, Council agreed to work to bring these key people together to form the Education and Training Advisory Committee.”
This committee (ETAC) will have the firm undertaking to work towards reaching one of the key outcomes created by the West Coast community in 2025 Community Plan: “innovative educational provision that meets the needs of the region.” ETAC members include school principals and representatives from TasTAFE, UTAS and the State Government.
Whilst Council will facilitate the meetings, the ETAC is structured to ensure recommendations and actions are delivered, “This is not a Council committee as such – we are a partner in the process of reaching the outcomes our community have told us they want,” Mayor Vickers said. “As a leader in the community, Council is best placed to work with key stakeholders, including all levels of government, and to engage on a wide scale with the whole of the West Coast as it’s important to remember that any rejuvenation of education here must have a West Coast-focus.”
With a team focusing on economic development, community development and communications, Council has the resources available to work with the ETAC, and the community, to develop a strong model for education on the West Coast.
Council also acknowledges the work of Queenstown Pharmacist Chris Walpole and the team from UTAS Vice-Chancellor’s Office in initially bringing some representatives together to get initial discussions started.
“With everyone committed to putting the best interest of our learners first by working together, the West Coast community will have the opportunity to be involved in the process with community sessions to be scheduled,” Mayor Vickers said.
“The values adopted in the Community Plan include leadership, unity of purpose, partnership and responsiveness – the opportunities we have in front of us in regards to education are very exciting.”
Future workshops are planned with stakeholders, through the ETAC, to refine ideas and to plan engagement with the community soon to ensure any education models are community-led for the region.