Regional study hubs help tertiary students stay connected to local community

News that the Australian Government will roll out more regional university study hubs is good news for tertiary students keen to stay connected to their local community.
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The Australian Government’s announcement of ten new regional University Study Hubs is critical to helping students stay in their local communities to undertake tertiary education.  In this context, the initiative has been welcomed by the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), the peak body representing independent skills training, higher education, and international education providers.

The regional University Study Hubs program is an Australian Government initiative formerly known as the Regional University Centres program.  It takes a student-centric approach to improving access to tertiary education for students across remote, rural, and regional Australia.

“These hubs support students from remote, rural, and regional Australia, allowing them to study tertiary courses locally, delivered by distance from any Australian institution,” says ITECA Chief Executive Troy Williams.

Offering academic support and infrastructure

Each of the study hubs provides infrastructure, including study spaces, breakout areas, video conferencing, computer facilities, and high-speed internet access.  The hubs also offer administrative and academic support services that include developing writing and research skills and managing administrative processes.

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“These are great resources that will be welcomed in rural, regional, and remote communities. They will help stop the brain drain that occurs when, all too often, students leave their local communities to take up studies in major regional town centres and capital cities, often never to return,” Mr Williams says.

The Australian Government has announced the locations of ten new Regional University Study Hubs across the country in remote, rural, and regional Australia. These are located in East Arnhem Land (NT), Victor Harbor (SA), Warwick (QLD), Chinchilla (QLD), Innisfail (QLD), King Island (TAS), Katanning (WA), the Pilbara (WA), a shared hub in Longreach, Barcaldine, Blackall, Winton, Boulia, Bedourie, Birdsville, and Jundah (QLD), and another shared hub for Mallacoota, Orbost, Omeo, Heyfield, and Yarram (VIC).

Roll-out of regional hubs will happen over months

The new Regional University Study Hubs are expected to be available to students over the next 12 months.  This announcement is in addition to the 34 existing Regional University Study Hubs across the country. The current 34 hubs support nearly 4,000 students, studying more than 1,000 different courses, through more than 200 tertiary education providers, including many independent skills training and higher education providers.

Significantly, the regional study hubs offer student support services, such as pastoral support, study advice, and help accessing student services.  They have proven to be particularly beneficial for students from low socio-economic backgrounds, Indigenous Australian students, and students with disabilities.

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“As a nation, we need people to support a culture of lifelong learning in order to adapt to new technologies and business processes,” says Mr Williams.

“The announcement of the new hubs is great, meaning that students from across remote, rural, and regional Australia will be better supported in their studies.”

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