I rise to make a statement on the Gordon TAFE annual report of 2010. When people think of Geelong, they often think of its icons — the Geelong Football Club, Deakin University and the Geelong Ford plant — but along with these important icons we have the Gordon TAFE, which is very high on that list.
Last year was the Gordon TAFE’s 123rd year of existence. It has grown from its original existence as a mechanical institute and night school for tradespeople to the largest regional stand-alone TAFE in the state. It now offers more than 400 nationally accredited and specialist courses across its three campuses in the Geelong CBD, East Geelong and Colac, as well as programs at Barwon prison and various Geelong workplaces. In the reporting period it enrolled around 25 000 students and employed approximately 800 staff. In terms of its presence, purpose, participation and place in Geelong, it is not only an important training provider but also a critical component in our region in delivering that connection between training, jobs and our ability to manage and deliver growth.
The reporting period also included the third and final stage of the Gordon 1-10 plan, which is the vision for the institute.
The plan has four major objectives: to be recognised as a leader in education and training, embracing new technologies and learning strategies; to be the training provider of choice; to be a key player in proactively assisting the region’s economy in transition and community needs, particularly those in disadvantaged areas; and to be an employer of choice.
It gives me great pleasure to inform the house that in September last year the institute was named Victorian large training provider of the year at the state training awards. It was a stunning achievement born out of the dedication to the Gordon 1-10 plan and the sheer hard work of all involved, so I congratulate everyone.
While I am congratulating people, it is absolutely fitting that I mention Grant Sutherland, the CEO of the Gordon. Grant was also awarded CEO of the Year at the Australian Human Resources Institute National Awards.
On presenting Mr Sutherland with the award, the judges remarked that Grant’s impact on the Gordon had been outstanding, with notable improvements on performance indicators and a well-articulated business vision.
During the reporting phase we also saw the completion of significant building works: the $7.8 million redevelopment of the Constructing Futures facility at the East Geelong campus — for anyone who goes past it, it is hard not to be impressed with that new facility. There was also $2.3 million for the Wireless Broadband Connectivity and Boiler Replacement project and the official opening of the redeveloped library at the East Geelong campus. Each of these projects attracted state and federal Labor government funding, which will assist in the Gordon’s enduring vision to be the no. 1 TAFE institute in regional Victoria.
With Geelong’s ongoing appeal for manufacturing due to its prime position for rail, road, sea and air transportation as well as significant growth in the area requiring substantial numbers of tradespeople, it is important that our education services keep up with that demand. On reading this report I have full confidence that the people of Geelong and the region have access to first class education services provided by what is recognised as the best large training provider in the state. I commend the report to the house.