State MPs Maree Edwards and Jacinta Allan address the media with federal MP Lisa Chesters and school principals and students at the site of Bendigo’s new tech school. Picture: JASON WALLSLaTrobe University’s Bendigo campus will be the site of the city’snew tech school, set to open its doors by the end of 2018.
Bendigo’s two state MPs, Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards, made the announcement at the La Trobe Universitycampus on Tuesday morning.
Unlike previous technical school incarnations, the new facility will host students from existing collegesand focus on science, technology, engineering and maths,with the curriculum toreflect the city’s emerging economies.
“The curriculum will be developed here in Bendigo,that builds on our strengths, and that’s why the focus of the Bendigo tech will be in that area ofhealth, engineeringand mathematics,” Ms Allan said.
“Really looking at where are the jobs of Bendigo’s future going tobe and providingthetrainingand education opportunities for young peopleto help them get there.”
Marist College Bendigo principalDarren McGregor said the school –dubbed theBendigo Innovation Technology Experience –would complement students’ current studies.
“One of the really exciting things about this is that it’s not a stand-alone facility, that we will integrate it intothecurriculum ofall the schools,” he said.
“We would hope that students from different schoolsare sitting in the same classroomat BITE, having the same experiences and sharing theirthoughts and ideas and inspiring each other to move forward.”
Australian Industry Group regional manager Jim Dannock said the school would provide students with linkages to local industry, helping to drive jobs growth in the area.
“Industry’sbeen very involved in thedevelopmentof the tech school here in Bendigo, and certainly from our point of viewwe’re really keen to encourage young peopleto look for the STEMskilled jobs for the future,” he said.
“Our research has shown that there’s one-and-a-half times the jobs growth in the STEMarea thatthere is in other areas so it does provide a great opportunityfor young people.
“But Ithink the other great thing about the tech school will be the opportunityof encouraging, right down to the year 7 level, for young peopleto pursue their careers.”
Bendigo South East College principal Ernie Flemming said the new facility would be a good fit with his school’s priorities.
“Educationdone the industrial way is nolonger relevant, so having education that goesoutsidethe school fence line, and interacts with real work and has what students do as real work,Ithink is the way of the future,” he said.
Ms Edwards said funding for the new school had been allocated in last year’s budget and that money would go towards constructionof a new building to house the facility.
“Now that we’ve announced the site, the task force will be workingwith thearchitect around whatthe tech school building will actually look like,” she said.
“We’ll alsobe working towards curriculum development which is still to be decided and also some governance arrangementsthat need to be worked out.”
Tomorrow’s state budget is expected toinclude$24 million over four years for running costs for the Bendigo school and nine others across the state.
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