The three CCA members which were heavily impacted by the February and March 2022 NSW north coast floods are now recovering from the experience.
CCA CEO, Dr Don Perlgut, visited the three affected members in mid-December – ACE Community Colleges (based in Lismore), Byron Community College (Mullumbimby and Byron Bay) and North Coast Community College (Alstonville).
The storm and floods impacted each college differently: ACE Community Colleges saw its Lismore downtown headquarters – a two-story building – almost totally submerged as part of the unprecedented floods that engulfed the town. The college’s centre at Murwillumbah was also badly affected (view a video of that flooding), and many students and staff were directly impacted. The Lismore central business district is now recovering, although far from complete. A large number of Lismore community facilities will not re-open until mid-2023, but ACE Community Colleges is positioned to commence promptly at the beginning of the year with newly outfitted training rooms: see the photo (on left) at the College – pictured (L to R) are Erin Hutchinson, Kerry Johnson (CEO) and Therese Skerritt. View a detailed illustrated timeline of the Lismore floods published the Sydney Morning Herald.
The ground floor of Byron Community College Mullumbimby campus was also flooded and will be rebuilt with “flood friendly” materials that can easily recover from future water events (view Mullumbimby flooding video). Although its facilities were not impacted, the North Coast Community College communities in Ballina and nearby were also badly affected.
CCA thanks Training Services NSW for assistance in providing $50,000 grants to each of the three colleges to support community outreach officers, which are now in place and active in the communities. These officers reinforce the ability of the community education providers to do what they already do best: engage disadvantaged, marginalised and vulnerable communities. This will help ensure a strong start to community-based education and training in 2023. CCA strongly believes that targeted assistance for outreach is crucial to overcome learner resistance to re-engagement with training following both natural disasters and COVID-19.
Image below: CCA CEO, Dr Don Perlgut (far right) with staff of Byron Community College: Chantal Abouchar (College CEO, next on left), along with (back row from R): Mike Bareham, VET Manager; Anthony Hobbs, Operations Manager; Caroline Price, VET team; Vicki Walker, General Courses Coordinator; Leonie Turner-Manning, Admin team; Shelley Nicholls, VET Coordinator; (front row, from R): Beth Wilson, Bookkeeper; Linda Hung, Finance Officer; Mary-Jane Manning, Admin team; Katherina Kiss, Student Support Officer.