Gympie comes of age with opening of first uni campus
ONE of the Gympie Region's biggest industries, education, is about to take a huge leap forward with the opening of our first university campus.
So often the state's Cinderella Region, Gympie may have finally found a glass slipper that fits, with the help of the University of the Sunshine Coast, Gympie TAFE and James Nash High School.
Even before the roof goes on the USC's dedicated building on the TAFE campus, students are already preparing to get started on the first university degree courses ever to be offered in Gympie - nursing and education.
The other important course, tertiary preparation, helps impart the skills, including assignment writing, that will make other tertiary studies much easier to complete.
"Tertiary Prep is particularly popular with mature age students," said USC Gympie campus manager Graham Young.
And mature age students are particularly successful at tertiary study, he said.
Gympie Bachelor of Nursing student Crystel Schuchmann , will be among the region's first university students to be trained predominantly in Gympie for her degree, although she and her colleagues will be further aided by a live video link to the USC main campus on the Sunshine Coast.
"The fact that the course is available here has made it all the more attractive," she said.
Students will initially be studying in TAFE buildings and making after hours use of classroom facilities at James Nash High School.
JAMES Nash principal and honorary Senior Fellow at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Darrin Edwards is excited about Gympie's educational coming of age.
And he particularly welcomes the role of his school in helping the USC get started in the region.
The university's own dedicated lecture and study building, due for completion in May, will take over as the USC's Gympie address for the second semester.
But in the meantime, university students will be using TAFE facilities and making after-hours use of recently upgraded science laboratories at James Nash.
The school will provide the first semester facilities for lab work associated with Bachelor of Nursing studies, Mr Edwards said yesterday.
It is all about providing "great educational opportunities here in Gympie," he said, adding that it is almost like a coming of age.
He said it would complement his school's international commitments, with full fee paying overseas students making education not only a major industry, but an export product as well.
"It all brings cultural richness and diversity to the school," he said.