Swan TAFE ready for flight


AULD Lang Syne will have special meaning for Geof Gale this New Year as he will no longer be managing director of South East Metropolitan College of TAFE.

In fact, SEMC of TAFE – awarded the best Australian Large Training Provider of the Year for 2001 – will no longer exist.

However, SEMC’s estimated 600 relationships with industry, business and the community, its management training for Alcoa and its Aboriginal development groups will not disappear.

As a result of recommendations contained in the WA Government’s 2001 McRae report, SEMC will become part of a larger and much more diverse institution, Swan TAFE College.

Swan TAFE, which will have double the number of students as SEMC and will operate under a budget twice the size of SEMC’s, will also incorporate Midland TAFE, a specialist centre for aviation training and airport management, and the Balga Campus of West Coast College of TAFE.

The amalgamation, among other things, will bring together three separate building and construction departments, including Balga’s Centre of Excellence for building and construction and furniture making, into one division.

It will offer other synergies, too, in business, language, information technology, hospitality, fashion and design and hospitality studies.

Mr Gale – to be Swan’s managing director – says courses can be better packaged to meet local and international customer and client needs.

For example, Midland’s aviation training can be put with SEMC’s literacy programs to offer courses more suited to international clients such the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The diversity will also enable Swan to better fast track the delivery of new tailored programs as issues affecting business and industry develop.

Currently two of these are the planned industrial expansion of the Burrup Peninsula and airport security.

Other change is under way. Discussions have begun on incorporating improved environment and sustainability practises, for example, utilising renewable energy technologies for power.

A large open learning area incorporating small centres around a network of computers is also planned, to be constructed on the Midland Railways site.

The commons concept, whereby local, national and international learning packages can be accessed online, has been adopted by only one other TAFE in Australia.

No capital has yet been allocated for Swan’s ‘information commons’, which Mr Gale believes will start to replace conventional institutional libraries.

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