Ten new Tech Schools are expected to open in mid-2018, as part of the State Government’s $128 million Tech School initiative.
The Government’s plan is to boost performance in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). This will include a 25% increase in year nine students reaching the highest level of maths achievement, and 33% more 15-year-olds reaching the highest levels in science by 2025.
Tech Schools operate differently from technical schools and traditional secondary colleges. They are innovative, shared learning environments that are managed and operated by a partnership of local schools, local government, TAFE, university and industry partners.
Tech School students are still enrolled in their local secondary school but attend classes at a Tech School campus that is shared with the many other schools in their region. The Tech Schools are hosted on TAFE or university campuses, to introduce students to the tertiary education environment and smooth their pathways into post-secondary education and training.
The ten new schools include the Monash at Clayton, Wyndham Tech School at Victoria University’s Werribee Campus, Geelong Tech School at the Gordon Institute of TAFE Central Campus in Geelong, and Yarra Ranges Tech School at Box Hill Institute in Lilydale. They also include regional schools at Ballarat, Bendigo, Gippsland and elsewhere.
The Yarra Ranges Tech School opened in April 2017, and the Monash Tech School will open in Term 3, 2017. Ballarat and Gippsland Tech Schools will open early 2018, with the other six opening and operational by mid-2018.
Construction has begun on the Casey Tech School, in Melbourne’s south east, and the Banyule-Nillumbik Tech School in Greensborough. These two schools alone will give 35,000 secondary school students from 39 schools access to learning in growth industries including biomedical technology, health and medical tech, and high-tech manufacturing, production and processing technologies. They will also be shared hubs available free of charge for students from partner schools as part of their regular schooling.
For more information, visit techschools.education.vic.gov.au.
In another initiative, the government will support adult learning in regional areas with $2.6 million funding for Learn Local organisations, which specially target adult learning and reskilling. Each year, the 300 or more Learn Local organisations help more than 50,000 Victorians develop new skills, return to study, improve their reading, writing and maths, and pursue their goals of getting work or going on to further education.
Learn Local is hosted by organisations such as Avocado, AMES, SkillsPlus, neighbourhood houses and community centres. You can find your nearest centre at learnlocal.org.au.