TAFE facility is a gem

VISITORS to Gympie TAFE campus yesterday were impressed with the state-of-art facilities available to teachers and students.

The Wide Bay Institute of TAFE held its annual open day to offer people an opportunity to take a closer look at some of the career paths they might be considering.

A partnership with the University of the Sunshine Coast under the federally-funded Collaborative Futures Project has also given current and potential TAFE students the option to further their education and gain tertiary qualifications without leaving the region.

Kerrie Pitkin is one Gympie WBIT student considering enrolling to do a Bachelor of Nursing Science on the campus next year. She is currently studying a Nursing Diploma to be a qualified endorsed enrolled nurse, which will take a year off the nursing degree, which will be offered by USC's Gympie campus in 2013.

"I was an aged care worker and decided to upgrade my skills and increase my career prospects," Miss Pitkin said.

"I'm hoping to go on to study for my qualifications as a registered nurse next year through USC. I feel good about that. It's a big relief that I won't have to travel down the coast.

"I completed my Certificate in Aged Care here at Gympie TAFE and now I'm doing this certificate and if I want to keep studying to be an RN I won't have to leave town to do it."

WBIT director Nigel Hill said the facilities at Gympie TAFE were excellent and recommended that any young person who was unsure of their future should pay them a visit or check out what was on offer by visiting the website, widebay.tafe. qld.gov.au.

Courses were offered in hair and beauty, auto repair, engineering, business, horticulture, construction, carpentry, information technology and many others.

"We have extensive nursing and health training areas here at Gympie, I'm sure visitors will be impressed at the facilities," Mr Hill said.

"The motorcycle and auto workshop is an absolute gem. Our aim is to make training more flexible and accessible by refining the balance between innovation and traditional teaching methods."

Gympie TAFE was the only campus in Queensland that offered courses in motorbike mechanics and small engine mechanics. Department head Scott Corry said motorcycle enthusiasts from all over Queensland, predominantly motocross competitors, came to Gympie to learn how to fix their own motorbikes.

Courses offered ranged from intermediate to advanced motorcycle mechanics and were held in four-week blocks at various times through the year.

Mr Corry said the small engine mechanics course could only be held if there were enough people enrolled. He said TAFE was currently taking expressions of interest.

"We recently acquired new equipment for the auto workshop to keep up with the latest technology," Mr Corry said.

"The new scanning tools are great for diagnostics. We have one for cars and one for motorbikes. This tool can identify a problem with the vehicle."

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