Collaboration = Skills = Opportunity
For those living and working in rural areas, the importance of providing genuine pathways to skilled employment for local populations, particularly young-people, is paramount. We understand in great detail, the challenges of ageing rural populations and structural adjustments. This is more than just a “microcosm” of the challenges facing our national economy.
Working in the field of skills development, labour markets and rural and regional planning, the nature of this model of collaboration and its result, has genuinely raised my interest and admiration.
The genesis of this idea [among others] came about during a meeting of 11 School Councils in 2005.
I have had the honour of attending the dual official opening[s] of the $AUD 11.3 Million dollar, Central Ranges Trade Training Centre, a unique collaboration of nine Government and Catholic secondary schools spanning a potential student population of some 3,500 across the shires of Mitchell and Murrindindi and the City of Whittlesea.
I say “unique” with genuine intent. It is rare [at least in my 30 years of experience] to see a level of collaboration, governance and coordination, that sees a number of individual schools, TAFE Colleges [Goulburn Ovens and Kangan Batman], Industry partners and a community-based planning network [Central Ranges LLEN] agree to fore-go individual funding, to maximise and pool available funds to establish a distributed network of infrastructure and human resources to supply a quality and depth of training opportunity that is clearly greater than the some of its parts.
Today in Seymour, the “Northern Hub” was officially opened by the Federal Minister for Skills and Training, The Honourable Brendan O’Connor and the Member for McEwen, Mr. Rob Mitchell. This completed the “bookend” of the opening of the Southern Hub, at Whittlesea Secondary College, just over a week ago. This complements the two other minor hubs, established and on-stream in 2012 at Alexandra Secondary College and Assumption College Kilmore.
In this expanded regional network, there are schools from the Government and Catholic sectors, their key leaders, school Principals, have chosen to take on a level of planning complexity and responsibility that is not easily reconciled with their “day-to-day” core-business, yet is clearly in the best interests of young people and employers throughout the region to gain access to training facilities and high-level qualifications in key areas of long-term skill-shortage.
Broadford Secondary College, as lead school in the consortium, coordinated and managed the five year project, yet received no capital investment. Seymour College and Whittlesea Secondary College, provided technical, programmatic and planning expertise and shared this with all schools and partners. This is what genuine leadership is, at the community level, these leaders have taken responsibility to build something for a region and the young people within it, well-beyond their individual school gates…
The other partners, specialists, governments and individuals have all contributed, having recognised the depth of collaboration and commitment of this consortium. To also complete such a complex task on budget and ahead-of-time, certainly challenges the stereotypical view of the public sector.
A genuine model of cluster-collaboration with concrete, long-term success. Congratulations to all involved.
The Central Ranges Trade Training Centre Consortium
- Alexandra Secondary College
- Assumption College Kilmore
- Broadford Secondary College
- Euroa Secondary College
- St.Mary’s College Seymour
- Seymour College
- Yea High School
- Wallan Secondary College
- Whittlesea Secondary College