Education in every sense is one of the fundamental factors of development, as regional communities, we know that to achieve sustainable economic development, we must continue to build on our most critical investment, our people.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce the Country Universities Centre Far West 2019 Annual Report.
This is the second full year of operations for the Far West Centre, and the journey remains exciting and full of learning for all of us, students, staff and the board.
Reflection on the past 12 months includes new opportunities for student support services, enhanced academic workshops and greater engagement strategies with local high schools.
The past year has also seen significant growth in our partnerships with Universities which has led to fantastic outcomes including the local delivery of early education degrees providing an exciting opportunity for our local students aspiring to become educators, supporting and directing the educational achievements of our next generation.
The CUC Far West team remain dedicated to developing pathways and opportunities to enable our locals to aspire to their dreams without the additional burden and expense of relocating to a metropolitan centre.
As student enrolments continue to grow, we will continue to develop the support services, technology and environment to ensure the Centre continues to support student needs that remain critical for our local students. I am particularly pleased with the most recent ‘student experience survey’ in which 97% of students attributed the Centre to helping improve their academic results.
Country Universities Centres greatest assets are our people, and of course, none of this would be possible without the inspiration, dedication and hard work of my fellow board members, the incredibly dedicated staff and our amazing students.
I would also like to recognise the support, commitment and dedication of the entire Country Universities Centre team who have now established similar Centres in Griffith, Narrabri, Clarence Valley, Western Riverina, Goulbourn and Snowy Monaro building even greater opportunities and services for all regional centres.
It remains a great privilege to be part of the Country Universities Centre Far West journey, and I look forward to building on the outstanding success of the Centre over the coming 12 months. The board will continue to strengthen the governance, and strategic direction of the Centre and the incredible team of devoted staff will continue to build support services that inspire, guide and encourage our students.
It’s hard to believe that Country Universities Centre Far West was merely a concept in the mind of a few only two short years ago. Since that time, the Board under the very capable leadership of Michael Williams as Chair developed the idea, localised it for the Far West community, established a very fit for purpose facility and entrusted it to the energetic leadership of Centre Manager Danielle Keenan.
Since opening its doors to students only last year, the Centre has quickly established its place in the educational fabric of Broken Hill by supporting 248 students studying at
47 universities and higher educational providers. All who have observed the rapid rise of CUC Far West are impressed by the student popularity of the Centre and its services, and the striking anecdotes of student academic success supported by the local Centre team of Danielle, Academic Advisor Lisa Turner and trainee Stevie-Lee Warburton.
CUC Far West currently has the greatest number of students of any CUC Centre, and is known through the CUC network for its leading role in the provision of generic academic workshops and coaching for its students. Other CUC Centres will follow the methods and practices of CUC Far West in these areas, and we thank Danielle and Lisa for their willingness to pilot ideas and share experiences so that others can emulate their success.
The next twelve months will be exciting for CUC Far West as it consolidates its impressive start, transitions from NSW Government to Commonwealth Government support and also deepens its academic assistance through the funding of the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation. I also have no doubt that the management and governance of CUC Far West will continue to lead and advise not just other Centres in the CUC network, but also be a pioneering example of educational access and success for other Regional Study Hubs newly operating across Australia.