Concerns raised over future of North Coast TAFE campus

THE future of the North Coast TAFE institute's Trenayr campus has been called into question in NSW Parliament.

Greens MLC John Kaye raised concerns about what major cutbacks to the primary industry education and training programs would mean for the campus during question time on Thursday.

Acting NSW Education Minister John Ajaka cited a decline enrolments for changes to the equine and agriculture programs which will see performance horse certificate courses delivered only from the Taree campus and online in 2014.

A statement of attainment in horse industry studies will be the only equine studies course offered and there will be no face-to-face workshops delivered through the flagship aquaculture program at Grafton.

Mr Ajaka said current students at Trenayr would be able to complete their equine studies this year and that the Taree campus would offer horse industry programs at certificate II and diploma levels online and through workshops.

He said existing horse industry staff at Trenayr would be "involved" in online training.

He argued most of the students who currently studied aquaculture at Trenayr were not local students and by making the shift, North Coast TAFE would be able to grow other offerings in Grafton, particularly in the areas of tourism, hospitality and electronics.

He also stressed that it was TAFE institute directors who were trusted to make the "appropriate decisions" about course offerings and the decisions made were dependent on meeting needs of the local industry.

"There has been a shift to delivering more of these programs online, by distance and in the workplace, and that is specifically in response to the needs of learners and employers," Mr Ajaka said " North Coast TAFE will continue to offer a range of programs for primary industries across a range of delivery modes, including campus-based delivery to meet local demand."

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