Ballina High aeronautics science teacher Dave Lowien with his students, from left, Robert Knox, 16, of Broadwater, Timon Ehret,
Ballina High aeronautics science teacher Dave Lowien with his students, from left, Robert Knox, 16, of Broadwater, Timon Ehret,

Ballina High bids $15m for training college

By DAWN COHEN

BALLINA High School is making a bid to operate one of the new multi-million dollar Australian Technical Colleges earmarked for NSW.

The award-winning school, together with the North Coast Institute of TAFE, has submitted a tender for $15 million in capital and recurrent funding.

It is joint bid with local industry partners, including TURSA Employment and Training Incorporated, Australian Business Limited, the Northern Rivers Group Training, and the Northern Rivers Regional Development Board.

The Federal Government is planning 24 colleges across Australia, costing about $289 million, with eight being in NSW.

The colleges will educate students in trade, academic information technology and business subjects.

If successful, the Northern Rivers college would start next year with 30 students, but eventually enrol 345 students by 2009.

Students will study for the HSC while completing an apprenticeship, encouraging youth into trades as a viable alternative to university.

"We are the school of choice for this," said Ballina High School's stand-in principal, John Douglas.

"We have strong industry ties developed over many years and offer outstanding service.

"No other school has its own aeroplane or marine studies centre."

Wollongbar TAFE would be the administrative centre for the proposed venture, called the Northern Rivers Technical College Network.

"Students will attend Ballina High and other schools for HSC studies," said Neil Black, director of the North Coast Institute of TAFE.

"Ballina High will be the first school involved.

"But the network embraces the whole Northern Rivers region and we will draw in other schools as well.

"Apprenticeships will be supervised by North Coast TAFE."

The proposal to the Federal Government has been submitted along with bids from the Hunter, Dubbo, Queanbeyan, and Campbelltown in Sydney

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