Merger spin-offs already benefiting CQ childcare centres

THE ink is barely dry on the CQU TAFE merger but already the practical benefits are being felt.

Child-care centres in rural and remote areas serviced by CQU campuses or distance education were under threat of closure due to a lack of qualified staff.

But thanks to a unique approach to teacher education, there is hope in sight.

Dean of Education and Arts Prof Helen Huntly said the program being offered from next year would fill the need.

"Our primary and early childhood teacher education students will be able to fill that need from the beginning of their second year of study," Prof Huntly said.

"They will be eligible to receive the Diploma of Early Childhood Education & Care award while they continue to study towards their bachelor degree."

Professor Huntly said the Early Childhood diploma, a national VET qualification, was now embedded into the first year of CQU's new primary and early childhood degrees, so students could work as qualified child-care professionals as they completed their degree program. "The announcement coincides with final approval for the merger of CQUniversity and CQ TAFE from July, 2014, and demonstrates the type of dual Uni and VET pathways that will be possible," she said.

CQUniversity will offer a special entry pathway into the second year of the bachelor degree for those who already hold the relevant VET diploma.

The primary and early childhood degrees are available on campus in Bundaberg, Mackay, Noosa and Rockhampton or in distance mode.

CQUniversity is offering new secondary education degrees on campus or via distance, and all programs feature early, frequent and extended practical placements.