Tomaree Community College reaching disadvantaged people

SUCCESS: Pictured at the NCVER launch (from left) are Linda Drake, State MP Kate Washington and Rowan Cox, the CEO of Atwea, formerly known as WEA in Newcastle. Picture: Supplied
SUCCESS: Pictured at the NCVER launch (from left) are Linda Drake, State MP Kate Washington and Rowan Cox, the CEO of Atwea, formerly known as WEA in Newcastle. Picture: Supplied

Tomaree Community College's ability to reach vulnerable and disadvantaged students while having wide reaching and positive impacts on the Port Stephens community had been identified some time ago.

Now, CEO Linda Drake has the data to support those long held views.

Commenting on the latest findings from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), Ms Drake said it was no surprise to learn that "community colleges were recognised as leaders in training of disadvantaged people".

"This is done by the ability to develop courses that meet needs in communities, solid long term relationships with industry and community trust," she said.

"One purpose of community colleges such as Tomaree is for people to get a faster, less expensive post-secondary education that impacts a person/family's life in so many ways."

Ms Drake, who last week attended the launch of the latest Community Colleges Australia report at State Parliament alongside State MP Kate Washington, said that the connection to employment outcomes in Port Stephens was a natural fit for Tomaree college.

The NCVER data proved the importance and success rate of the community education sector for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, proving that colleges outperformed other community education providers on almost all tracked measures in reaching vulnerable and disadvantaged students.

"Community education providers topped all categories (TAFE, private, not-for-profit, university), with almost half (48.9 per cent) of graduates employed at the end of the training that had not been employed prior to commencing their study," Ms Drake said.

"What's more students who have studied VET courses with community education providers rate their experience very highly. It is amazing to some just how many places are delivered to disadvantaged people in the Port Stephens community."

The Tomaree college delivered training to 1,465 disadvantaged students in 2018.

"The student choices in courses included hospitality, aged care nursing, childcare, business and technology. And we can't forget the aged population in Port Stephens, with all available funding places used by seniors in areas of technology, such as smartphones, tablets, and cyber security."

The report was launched by NSW Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee at Parliament House in the presence of 70 NSW MLCs and MLAs, CCA members and guests.

"Community colleges are and will continue to be an important part of post-secondary school education due to grassroots contact with local communities," Mr Lee said.

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