One semester to go until CQUniversity and TAFE merge

THE long-anticipated merger between CQUniversity and CQ TAFE is set to go ahead on July 1, making this the final semester before the country's newest education giant comes into being.

The Queensland Government in December 2012 approved the merger, which will see $120 million in TAFE assets from the State Government and $74 million in federal funding combine to form Queensland's first "dual sector" university.

The new model will incorporate the practical, skills-based approach of TAFE with academic education.

Now that decisions will be made in Central Queensland, we can be more responsive to industry, for example in deciding which programs to put on.

CQUniversity Vice Chancellor Scott Bowman is galvanised for what he describes as a huge but exciting challenge ahead.

"Creating this new comprehensive university will not only mark a new beginning for CQUniversity, but will also establish our region as a leader in the provision of post-school training and education options," he said.

Students will be able to enrol in both diploma and degree options, with 26 dual sector courses listed by the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre this year.

"People can now come and do their apprenticeship, for example, in one of the trades or hairdressing, but they're part of an organisation they can later return to and do a business degree to support their trade," Prof Bowman said.

The merger is big news for central Queensland's Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay and Central Highlands (Emerald) regions, where there is a campus of both the university and TAFE.

Vice Chancellor Bowman said he is looking forward to working more closely with industry.

"Now that decisions will be made in Central Queensland, we can be more responsive to industry, for example in deciding which programs to put on," he said.

All CQ TAFE staff will join the CQU team on July 1, in what Prof Bowman describes as the biggest ever boost for the fast-growing organisation.

Facts

Gladstone CQU

  • 253 on-campus uni students; 900 including distance education
  • 60 staff
  • 16 programs

Gladstone TAFE

  • 902 students
  • 61 staff
  • 50 programs

Childcare workers choose to further their credentials

GLADSTONE women Carmon Elsley and Amanda Thornton have chosen to further their TAFE credentials in early children's' services by studying to become a Bachelor of Education at CQUniversity.

It's a pathway that may become more common as the TAFE and CQU merge in July this year.

Carmon Elsley is a child care worker with 14 years experience and a Certificate III, Diploma and Advanced Diploma.

"My Advanced Diploma was a stepping stone; it helped me get accepted to uni," she said.

Amanda Thornton, from Gladstone, enjoyed studying at TAFE because she was able to work and use the certificate and diploma pathway to increase her qualifications as she gained experience and skills.

"It meant I could work and have kids, as well as study; I did it at my own pace," she said.

"It's really important to learn through experience."

A mother of two, Ms Thornton and her husband live in Boyne Island where he works at the aluminium smelter.

Originally from Mildura in Victoria, Ms Thornton has been in Gladstone for seven years and has worked in early childhood education at child care centres and kindergartens for 11 years.

This year she is enrolled to become a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) because she wants to study her passion in more depth.

"I'm doing it for personal knowledge, but also because it'll open up heaps more options for me," she said.