Rural, hort tafeSA campuses to remain open

Rural, hort tafeSA campuses to remain open

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REPRIEVE: Nursery & Garden Industry of SA chief executive Grant Dalwood and board member Geoffrey Fuller expressed concerns about the future of the Urrbrae campus.

REPRIEVE: Nursery & Garden Industry of SA chief executive Grant Dalwood and board member Geoffrey Fuller expressed concerns about the future of the Urrbrae campus.

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The state government has gone back on its decision to close four tafeSA campuses.

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The state government has gone back on its decision to close four tafeSA campuses, announced in last September's budget.

Campuses at Urrbrae, Roxby Downs, Wudinna and Coober Pedy were set to be shut down.

Instead the government announced today that tafeSA would continue its presence at the Urrbrae Campus, where it would deliver horticulture training.

Last year's announcement inspired a petition that received more than 3500 signatures in support of the campus within weeks.

The government today said tafeSA had met its required savings targets for the site and completed a review of how its training offering could be best delivered.

While the regional campuses remain open, they will be altered somewhat.

In Roxby Downs, tafeSA will reduce its presence on the site to fulfil an urgent demand for more student space from the local school, with the workshop space remaining available to deliver training for both the school and community.

Coober Pedy campus is also expected to have its "footprint minimised" and will share the workshop and hospitality facilities with the Coober Pedy Area School.

The Wudinna Campus will be made widely available to the community for use as required, including providing access to a high-quality internet connection for the area.

Community Liaison Officers will provide a visible presence in the community at all three regional sites and training will continue to be delivered flexibly off-campus.

The government has also promised a $25.2 million inject into tafeSA for this year's budget.

This week tafeSA also signed a memorandum of understanding this week with the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia that could see independent training providers given more access to publicly owned sites and resources, and vice versa. The move is expected to bring renewed opportunities for tafeSA in maintaining its presence at Urrbrae.

tafeSA plans to optimise and consolidate the space required for its continued delivery of training at the Urrbrae Campus and will meet its savings targets by allocating underused space to the Urrbrae Agricultural High School, which is co-located at the site.

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Education Minister John Gardner said the government was focused on supporting tafeSA to become more competitive as a training provider.

"We are focused on supporting tafeSA to meet the needs of both South Australians seeking the skills they need to build their careers and the local industry that is seeking a skilled workforce," he said.

"This announcement allows tafeSA to continue to deliver specialist courses on sites where they can be best delivered, while reducing and consolidating underutilised spaces.

"We have always maintained that some level of training would be likely to continue at the Urrbrae campus.

"Strong support from industry, as well as tafeSA's new focus on partnerships, has given rise to more opportunities and made maintaining a significant permanent presence at the site a viable option which we are now pleased to confirm.

"We remain committed to supporting tafeSA to have a presence in the community across the state and training will continue to be delivered flexibly off-campus to better meet demand."

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