From next year Parkes residents will be able to further their tertiary education without leaving town.
Parkes is one of nine new Country Universities Centres (CUC) to be established, bolstering the 16 existing centres countrywide. CUC provides regional Australians with opportunities for higher education study without having to relocate to the city.
The Parkes CUC will be located at the new Parkes Library precinct to be completed in September this year, and will be operational from the first semester in 2021.
“It’s been a long time in the making and everyone is really thrilled it’s happening,” said Parkes Shire Council’s Manager Cultural, Education and Library Services, Kerryn Jones.
“It really is a great opportunity for people to study from home and save on expenses. It is not just for school leavers, but anyone who would like to upgrade their skills in their professions. This means businesses would also be able to help employees upgrade their qualifications without them having to leave Parkes and interrupt their employment,” said Kerryn.
She said it would also be of great support for the establishment of the Special Activation Precinct in Parkes in encouraging locals to upgrade their skills for employment opportunities.
The CUC will be located in the new pavilion being built at the Parkes Library, and will be run by a full-time manager. Students will have access to high speed internet and technology to support their studies, receive general academic support from the manager and other students, and be able to access all the resources available at the library next door.
Riverina MP and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack also welcomed the announcement saying the new centre would boost local opportunities for students to gain skills and qualifications, particularly as regions look to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parkes Shire Council has received federal and state government funding to support the set-up of the centre.
By Maggi Barnard