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Changes to Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges

The Queensland Government has announced changes to Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges (QATC) following an independent review of the future of vocational education, training and skilling in central-western Queensland.

Emeritus Professor Peter Coaldrake was commissioned to make recommendations on how to grow the vocational education, training and skills sector in the region to improve economic growth and regional resilience.

The Coaldrake Review has found that the residential training model provided by QATC is outdated and unsustainable.

Despite investment by successive governments over many years, the QATC business model and its predecessor Australian Agricultural Colleges Corporation has not been a success.

QATC’s residential training colleges at Longreach and Emerald are underutilised, operating at a substantial loss and are not meeting student target numbers.

To support the growth of new industries including tourism and hospitality, allied health and mining, more modern, diversified and flexible training options are needed and this is beyond the current focus and ability of QATC.

The Coaldrake Review has recommended that the Longreach and Emerald agricultural colleges cease operations and other providers be given responsibility for delivering vocational education and training programs.

The final report of the Coaldrake Review is available online at click here: www.publications.qld.gov.au by searching ‘qatc’.

What happens now?

Based on the recommendations of the Coaldrake Review, Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges will cease to operate after 2019.

The Longreach and Emerald campuses will continue to provide services during 2019 to ensure students who are currently enrolled can complete their studies, however, there will be no new enrolments taken from 5 December 2018.

Enrolments at QATC’s Rural Training Queensland hubs across the state will be suspended from 5 December 2018 while alternative options are considered.

All current students will be able to complete their qualification or studies at QATC or through a supported transition to other training providers.

The Queensland Government is committed to constructively engaging with employees and union representatives throughout this process to ensure the best possible outcomes for staff.

Efforts will focus on maximizing employment opportunities and may include retraining, deployment, and redeployment and assistance offered will be in line with the Queensland Government’s Employment Security Policy.

To implement the Coaldrake Review, the Queensland Government will initially invest $7 million to:

  • ensure current students can complete their qualification or studies at QATC or through a supported transition to other training providers
  • maximise employment opportunities, in consultation with staff and union representatives, which may include retraining, deployment, or redeployment
  • establish a project management office with local support provided to students and staff
  • work with the local communities to determine the best future use of existing college facilities.

More than $30 million will be invested to ensure the central west region continues to have access to high quality vocational education and training, including in agriculture.

The process of reshaping the region’s vocational education and training sector has commenced, with negotiations underway with alternative training providers such as TAFE and Central Queensland University, to transition to a new, more sustainable model.

More information

For detailed information about the changes to Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges and how students and staff will be affected, click here: Frequently Asked Questions.

Alternatively you can contact the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges directly on 1800 888 710 or by email at: enquiries@qatc.edu.au.

The Training Queensland Customer Centre (TQCC) is available to help students over the coming months and can be contacted on 1300 369 935 or via email at: training@det.qld.gov.au

Advice on VET Student Loans is available from the Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training on 1800 020 108 and at: www.education.gov.au/vet-student-loans

Staff can also contact the Employee Assistance Program which is a free, confidential counselling and consultancy service available to QATC employees to assist with the resolution of personal and work-related problems. This service, provided by Benestar, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be accessed by phoning 1300 360 364 or by emailing: https://benestar.com/contact-us

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