$5 million for Border TAFE future-proofing

02 Oct 2018 Border Mail, Albury-Wodonga (General News) by Ellen Ebsary EIGHTY Border and North East businesses have helped design a new Wodonga TAFE program to better equip students for work in the retail sector. Retail Connection has been in the works for the past 18 months and will now be made possible by $1.9 million from the Victorian governments Workplace Training Innovation Fund. Staff are working on a new online training portal to be launched in July, when 50 students will take part in the program as a trial. Wodonga TAFE education and vocational services director Janelle Cretney said students would be able to access direct mentoring, webinars, masterclasses, and other specialist training. Weve been working with retailers to develop a new model of training, she said. Our courses range from a certificate two to a diploma in retail, and within those courses a number of topics have been revamped so that theyre really relevant to industry. There have been changes in our retail environment locally including different ways of shopping, competition with the global economy and keeping pace with technological advancement so its important to work with local retailers to understand what their training requirements are. On top of the $1.9 million for Retail Connection, Northern Victoria MP Jaclyn Symes also announced $3.2 million to modernise 10 courses that Wodonga TAFE deliver, three of which are on the list of 30 courses that will be provided for free from January. For instance, the certificate four in disability will now be closely aligned with the roll-out of the NDIS and it also covers a certificate three in engineering mechanical trade, she said. Manufacturing is worth $375 million in Wodonga, so its really important to make sure were keeping up to date with the industrys needs. Its all about regional demand, and regional future opportunities in North East Vic and Southern NSW. Wodonga TAFE chief executive Mark Dixon welcomed the $5.2 million in funding. The Workplace Training Innovation Innovation Fund is the first time weve seen government commit to us really strongly so were equipped to look forward and innovate, to make sure we can meet the need of future employers, she said. Its a fresh fund and really critical to TAFE so we can plan for the future. The bonus from the Training Innovation Fund . that looks after regional TAFE especially. Mr Dixon said additional to Retail Connection, another project Wodonga TAFE has been able to achieve was the first ever transport course for females, in partnership with Linfox and Australia Post