Community Colleges Australia (CCA) is thrilled that last weekend’s New South Wales cabinet reshuffle has resulted in an Assistant Minister for Skills, the Hon Adam Marshall MP, Member for Northern Tablelands. There is now a second minister in the portfolio – assisting Deputy Premier the Hon Barilaro MP, who is also the Minister for Skills and Minister for Regional New South Wales. Adam Marshall’s appointment also acknowledges of the importance that vocational education and training (VET) plays in regional and rural Australia, given his regional and rural electorate.
Because of the economic and business structure of most of regional and rural Australia, non-metropolitan VET participation rates run at least 50% higher than in large metropolitan areas. A much larger percentage of regional and rural VET students study lower level qualifications: Certificate III and below – just those qualifications that community education providers (community colleges) excel in, with our focus on vulnerable and disadvantaged learners.
Although the national percentage of VET students enrolled with community providers sits around 5%, CCA estimates that the regional and rural VET delivery by community providers is at least double that amount (10%) nationally – including New South Wales, (and greater than 20% in Victoria), making community providers a significant national force in non-metropolitan Australia.
The Regional Australia Institute states that, “Achieving more equitable education outcomes across regional Australia is our nation’s greatest challenge in realising the potential of regional Australia…. This is not just the right thing to do, it is central to the future of our economy.”
Community education providers can operate as regional and rural “education investment vehicles”, as we re-invest our financial surplus in our communities, increasing both quality and reach.
CCA also honours the excellent work by the (now) former Minister for Education, the Hon Adrian Piccoli, MP who has been replaced in education by Pittwater MP Rob Stokes.
News Coverage of Minister Adam Marshall's appointment: