Monday’s official opening of the new $6 million TAFE Digital Headquarters is an incredible boost to regional education, local employment and the vocational education and training sector, Northern Tablelands MP and Minister responsible for TAFE Adam Marshall said.
Mr Marshall opened the headquarters with Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray, collaborating to launch the TAFE Digital HQ in a virtual reality world.
He said the newly launched facility would be the centrepiece of the VET provider’s new digital strategy.
“Digital learning is becoming an increasingly significant part of the student experience and development of new cutting-edge courses will be led by tech gurus right here in Armidale,” Mr Marshall said.
“This high-tech workplace will house 51 new staff members, over half of whom have moved to Armidale from interstate, bringing their partners and children to make our city their new home.
“They will use exciting new technologies like virtual and augmented reality, robotics, 3D printing and remote conferencing to develop courses which can then be rolled out to students across the state.
“The Digital Headquarters has already met with major employers LendLease and Harley Davidson, with staff working directly with industry to ensure students have skills needed by the workplaces of the future.”
The launch saw dozens of new recruits meet with influential members of the community, while sampling a spread proudly prepared by Commercial Cookery trainees.
Mr Marshall said the headquarters was part of the NSW Government’s push towards a decentralisation of administrative and executive services.
“The successful launch of this visionary new centre in a regional city is proof that important institutions don’t need to be located in Sydney,” Mr Marshall said.
“Our city is renowned as a high-tech education hub, offering a top-of-the-line NBN connection, connectivity with the UNE Smart Farm and Incubator, and the exciting $65 Armidale Future School now on the horizon.
“51 new jobs would go entirely unnoticed in Sydney, Wollongong or Newcastle. Here, these new hires will become invaluable members of our local community, giving back to a city that has already proven very welcoming.
“I’m proud that this facility has found its home in Armidale, heralding the future of education state-wide while delivering immeasurable benefits to the local community.
“It just proves my point that everything does not have to be in Sydney – we can successfully establish government departments and agencies, life TAFE Digital, successfully here in country NSW.”
TAFE Digital offers students more than 250 new courses, ranging from wool classing to online cybersecurity. The Digital Headquarters will be responsible for producing content for these courses, using the latest in virtual reality, augmented reality and simulation.
TAFE Digital comes on top of the range of measures the NSW Government has implemented to strengthen TAFE’s traditional classroom learning, including the rollout of 14 state-of-the-art Connected Learning Centres (CLCs) and $131 million dollars in capital works expenditure in the 2017-18 Budget.
“As the local MP I am so proud today with this new facility and which will bolster the Armidale Region,” Mr Marshall said.