Page 2650 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 15 August 2017
No-one questions why the University of Canberra or ANU are not out at Tuggeranong or Woden, so I do not know why they keep coming to CIT and saying we should be opening up everywhere as well. To try to run an efficient business, we need to decide what is best, and look at how we create these big centres of excellence where you can really do some deep, hard training, rather than trying to be generalists scattered in every town centre in Canberra.
For the record, and in response to that comment, I personally think satellite campuses representing our tertiary institutions would certainly be a welcome addition in my electorate of Brindabella. Indeed I do not see anyone in the electorate of Murrumbidgee complaining of any potential tertiary institutions opening up there.
In recent years the ACT Labor government have made much of their decision to locate CIT campuses in the Tuggeranong town centre. The location of a CIT campus there is indeed very welcome. However, it should also be noted that the campus provides a very limited course outline, resulting in the need for many potential students to look at other options for their study needs. What is very apparent is that the courses that are offered as a whole at CIT are crucial to the success of this education model.
As noted during the estimates hearings, CIT operates under a demand-driven system; therefore, it is crucial to be offering course outlines that reflect the changing needs of the workforce. On a very positive note, it seems that there are moves in the right direction in this regard. CIT is the first vocational education and training provider to have developed a graduate certificate in network and cybersecurity, which stands us in good stead to attract students interested in that emerging field, particularly in light of the ACT becoming the first operational node of the Australian cybersecurity growth network. This, along with the intention of the board to build on their relationship with the AFP in forensic science and crime scene investigation, stands the CIT in a fairly good position to meet some of the future demands in these industries and attract students interested in forging careers in those fields.
I also note the mention of the demand for flexible learning environments during the estimates hearings. This demand is also reflected in enrolment fluctuations. We all know that flexibility is key to engaging everyone in further education. Evidence of the effects of not meeting demand can be seen in the decline in the target enrolments at CIT. The targets fell short by about 1,400 enrolments in the 2017-18 financial year. This, of course, is not a new issue to the CIT board, which I note is well aware of this problem.
On a positive note, it is pleasing to see the number of international students coming to Canberra and undertaking study through CIT. I understand from information in the estimates hearings that we are up by about 14 per cent on last year’s numbers of international students choosing to study in Canberra. I am mindful, however, of the need to ensure that we continue to operate in an environment that can sustain these enrolments through study and beyond. The key will be ensuring Canberra is the place that attracts innovation and keeps pace with the demands of industry and business future needs. We need to keep these students well beyond their time at CIT and our tertiary institutions and attract them into jobs here in the territory and encourage them