In a first for Victoria, a new partnership between Deakin University and The Gordon will create guaranteed pathways for students from diplomas into degrees.
The Deakin-Gordon Pathways Partnership will allow students from across the Geelong region and beyond greater access to quality higher education than ever before, providing them with the qualifications they need to forge rewarding careers.
The Victorian Minister for Higher Education and Skills, Nick Wakeling MP, officially launched the Pathways Partnership with Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander and The Gordon CEO Lisa Line at a special event at the Waterfront campus.
"The Pathways Partnership is part of Deakin's commitment to make quality tertiary education more accessible for all students in their own communities," Professor den Hollander said.
"It is our aim to provide seamless pathways from school through TAFE and on to university, and this partnership will help build the jobs of the future in the Geelong region."
The Deakin-Gordon Pathways Partnership will initially cover disciplines including Engineering, Accounting, Nursing and Early Childhood Education. The list of pathways is expected to grow.
Professor den Hollander said the Partnership was the first of its kind for Victoria and was especially symbolic as it strengthened a relationship between the two local education providers, which began when Deakin was created in Geelong 40 years ago.
"Since we began in 1974 as Australia's first regional university, we have worked closely with The Gordon to widen access to higher education, ensuring students have access to the right pathway for them to develop good careers and make a difference to their own communities," she said.
"We know people tend to stay and work where they study, so it is imperative that we provide good pathways to a career here in the Geelong region.
"We remain jointly passionate and committed to doing that and with three times as many regional Australians undertaking TAFE programs compared to their metropolitan counterparts, this Pathways Partnership is essential to the region's future."
Professor den Hollander said the Pathways Partnership would also benefit those who wanted a mix of vocational and higher education, along with school-leavers who were not ready for university studies, and needed a supportive transition from school to tertiary education via TAFE studies.
"If a student achieves the specified level of academic performance in their course at The Gordon, they can count on progressing to enrolment in the matched Deakin degree course and that gives these students an exciting future to work towards," she said.
CEO of The Gordon, Lisa Line, said students who graduate from the Pathways Partnership would be equipped with the dynamic combination of quality Vocational Education and Training (VET) and higher education studies, likely to improve their employability.
"Access to education is a significant driver of regional economic development and improving the pathways between school, VET, and higher education played a core role in redressing disadvantage and meeting industry needs into the future," Ms Line said.
"This region is forecast to be a major contributor to Victoria's growth over the next 30 years. We recognise that vocational education and training aligned with community needs is essential to support sustainable growth.
"The Gordon is the largest provider of TAFE qualifications in the Barwon region and now our students have an iron-clad guarantee of placement at Deakin University on completion of their course.
"My vision is that every single student participating in the Deakin-Gordon Pathways Program will be able to undertake all of their study here, where they live.
"We are excited that the new level of our partnership will allow students to stay close to home, among their friends, families and communities while they achieve a world-class education and secure their future careers."
The new program is the second major partnership between Deakin and The Gordon this year, after opening the Werribee Learning Centre in May, and follows collaboration in programs such as Skilling the Bay and the Northern Bay Guarantee.
The Pathways Partnership will also give students Credit for Prior Learning, shortening the length of their degree studies.
Also under development through the partnership is a scholarships pathway with links to industry, along with work integrated learning options and vacation employment connections, giving students the opportunity to earn while they learn.