Regional and Rural Economic Development Forum

NSW Rural & Regional Economic Development Project

CCA is completing its report to the NSW Deputy Premier and the NSW Department of Industry on how NSW community colleges can contribute to rural and regional economic development in the state. The final report – to be released in early February 2018 – will contain comprehensive recommendations for CCA members; all levels of government – Commonwealth, State and local; regulators; other VET organisations, other educational sectors and peak bodies; philanthropic funders; and others. The research undertaken in NSW has important national implications as to how not-for-profit “for purpose” community education providers can participate effectively in developing Australia’s economic future outside of our capital cities.

Rural & Regional Economic Development Forum

On 25 October 2017, CCA held a professional forum to explore how the NSW community education sector participates in regional and rural economic development.

Held at the ecologically sustainable headquarters of Byron Community College in Mullumbimby, the forum was opened by The Hon Ben Franklin MLC, Parliamentary Secretary of Northern New South Wales, who acknowledged that "Community colleges are key to activating economic potential and creating a skilled workforce."

Dr Don Perlgut CEO, CCA, Richard Vinycomb, Director of Byron Community College and the State Member for Ballina and Greens NSW spokesperson for regional development, Tamara Smith, welcomed the attendees to the forum, with Ms Smith saying that she sees "the goal of achieving economic sustainability for our region as a top priority."

As well as Don Perlgut, other speakers at the Forum included CEO of Byron Community College, Richard Vinycomb; Rowan Cox, WEA Hunter; Kerry Johnson, ACE Community Colleges, Lismore; Fiona Sheridan, Sourdough Business Pathways and Wendy Perry, national VET regional development expert. Other NSW community colleges represented included Tamworth, North Coast (Alstonville), Central Coast, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.

Organisations attending the forum included CCA member colleges, Regional Development Australia, TAFE NSW, Southern Cross University, University of New England and media training provider SAE Institute.

Facilitated by Michelle Walker, of Curious Minds Co, the day looked at successful economic development models and used a workshop/discussion setting to draw out ideas, strategies and action plans to for colleges to further their economic development collaborations.

CCA will use its own research and the results of the Forum to prepare a comprehensive report for the NSW Department of Industry, which will include positive models for how the community education sector is able to increase its contribution to NSW regional and rural economic development.

Media Release: Byron Echo, 1 November 2017

Presentations from the forum are available on our Resources page.

The forum has been funded by the NSW Department of Industry, as part of a project that examines how NSW community education providers can contribute effectively to regional and rural economic development.