Push on for training college

By DAWN COHEN

AN INNOVATIVE vocational high school is being planned for the Northern Rivers by a partnership between local business, training and education organisations.

Tursa Employment and Training, the North Coast Institute of TAFE and Australia Business Limited are supporting the venture, following election promises to fund technical colleges.

The Federal Government is asking for expressions of interest from organisations to establish 24 independent technical schools, at a cost of about $289 million.

In the local proposal, Year 11 and Year 12 students could complete half an apprenticeship while doing their HSC.

"We have under-employed teachers in the Northern Rivers, as well as a shortage of skilled labour," said TURSA managing director Ron Rathborne.

"Just try and get an electrician or a builder around here."

TURSA has offered a nostrings-attached donation of $100,000 to the school if it is successful in winning a Government tender.

Sydney-based organisations are putting in submissions to run a number of the schools from a metropolitan head office, Mr Rathborne said.

The Casino-born former farmer wants the Northern Rivers to have a school run by local businesses with a board of management, including the three stakeholders.

Paul Roberts, spokesperson for North Coast Institute of TAFE, does not see the project as competition.

"It will grow student volume," he said.

"They will come to us to complete their apprenticeships after the HSC."



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