CCA Western Sydney members meet to discuss regional economic development

Nine organisational members of Community Colleges Australia (CCA) met in Parramatta this week to discuss developing a collaborative approach to Western Sydney regional economic development.

This planning meeting for CCA’s Western Sydney project was attended by senior representatives from The Parramatta College, Macquarie Community College, Macarthur Community College, JobQuest, The Deaf Society, VERTO, Sydney Community College, Hornsby Ku-Ring-Gai Community College and St George & Sutherland Community College. The CCA members were joined by senior staff from the Training Services NSW Western Sydney and Southwestern Sydney regional offices (see photo below), who discussed the Department of Industry’s Western Sydney activities.

The meeting discussed how best to work on a common vision for how to utilise and increase the capacity of not-for-profit community education organisations in Greater Western Sydney.

Dr Don Perlgut, CCA’s CEO, talked about some of the challenges facing Western Sydney, including rapid population growth, a large migrant community, proportionately higher unemployment compared to the rest of Sydney and some deep pockets of poverty. However, the region is also undergoing massive infrastructure investment, including a new airport and other transport links. Opportunities exist to become part of the Aerotropolis regional high skills training hub. Local councils are proactively encouraging regional education investment, such as Blacktown Council’s call for expressions of interest for a university.

CCA’s recent survey of education and training delivery by its members show that community education providers currently operate from more than 100 locations in Greater Western Sydney.

“CCA sees the potential to build on the existing locations, creating a collaborative and complementary adult and community education training network throughout Western Sydney. The network would utilise the strengths of community education providers – their place-based approach to learning, their outstanding student support services, their ability to engage the most vulnerable and disadvantaged learners and their ability to lift people into employment,” said Dr Perlgut.

“The network would support Western Sydney job needs in construction, manufacturing, services and other developing areas; complement TAFE training; and become part of the Commonwealth-State approach to that region’s economic development,” said Dr Perlgut.

CCA has organised a Western Sydney Regional Economic Development Forum on 26 October 2018 in Parramatta. The Forum will examine the connection between the region's economic development and training needs and capacity, with a special focus on community providers. The Forum will be opened by Dr Geoff Lee, Member for Parramatta and Parliamentary Secretary for Western Sydney. Speakers include Kerry Robinson, General Manager of Blacktown Council, discussing the Council's plans for a local university campus. Contact CCA for more details.

Image below: meeting participants. Nepean Community College and Bankstown Community College (BCCI) are also part of Western Sydney community education providers, but were unable to attend the meeting.

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