In 2011 TAFE Western is significantly increasing its efforts and investment in providing and supporting training for Aboriginal people with the establishment of a new, and larger, Aboriginal Education and Training Unit.
The new team, comprised of 15 Aboriginal staff located in Dubbo, Bathurst, Orange, Broken Hill and in the northwest of the state, has been formed in response to feedback from Aboriginal communities that TAFE could be doing more to meet the needs of Aboriginal people and communities.
Ms Kate Baxter, Institute Director said the new team will provide leadership to TAFE Western's efforts in closing the gap in the disadvantage that Aboriginal people experience in relation to employment and education.
"In particular, the Unit will strengthen our partnerships with Aboriginal communities, collaboration with industry and efforts to support Aboriginal students to succeed in their training," she said. "An important part of this work will be done by six new student support officers who are based in Colleges throughout our region who will work directly with the students."
At the same time TAFE Western has formed an Aboriginal Community Reference Group which includes representatives of Aboriginal communities in western NSW who will advocate for improved outcomes for Aboriginal peoples and articulate the expressed needs and aspirations of Aboriginal peoples in the region.
An induction workshop for the new team, facilitated by Professor Bob Morgan, will be held in Dubbo on 24 and 25 February 2011. The workshop will include presentations by Mr Michael Coutts-Trotter, Director-General of the NSW Department of Education and Training and Ms Cindy Berwick, President of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group.
TAFE Western is the largest single provider of vocational education and training for Aboriginal people in NSW with more than 6500 enrolments from Aboriginal students, accounting for more than 16% of its student population.