Tech colleges secure federal funding until ’09

WESTERN Australia’s two Australian Technical Colleges are taking steps to ensure they are funded until December 2009, with negotiations under way with the new federal government. ATC Perth South, which has campuses in Maddington and Armadale, has signed an agreement to receive funding through until the end of next year, when it is expected to be re-assessed in competition with other colleges nationally. Meanwhile, ATC Pilbara, based in Port Hedland, is also expected to retain its current funding arrangement. Meanwhile, proposed colleges in Perth’s northern suburbs and Kwinana are not expected to proceed. ATC Perth South chair Rod Slater said he had received correspondence from Education Minister Julia Gillard indicating colleges that were performing well may be retained, despite the ATCs being a Howard government initiative that was not supported by Labor. “In the period between now and December 2009, each college will be evaluated on its merits with a view to determining the period 2010 and beyond,” he said. “We’re business as usual and we’re confident we’ll be here beyond 2010.” The college will increase its student intake by 150 when the school year commences next month, bringing its total enrolment to 210. Meanwhile, Malaga-based National Corporate Training Pty Ltd, which in conjunction with the Swan Chamber of Commerce applied to establish a college in Perth’s north, believes its proposal will not go ahead. The company’s director, Alan Blencowe, said he was looking at opportunities around trades training in schools, which was part of Labor’s education policy in the lead up to the election. “We’re assuming that the new ATC is not going ahead, but we have other contingencies and we will be watching to see what we can offer,” he said. Emily Piesse

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