THE NSW government is hoping the addition of a multi-trades hub at the TAFE NSW Scone Connected Learning Centre (CLC), will make up for the strong community opposition following the recent sale of Scone's 17.9 hectare TAFE campus to Racing NSW.
A further $3 million will go into the $6.5 million CLC to build a workshop on the site to replace hands on courses currently offered at the 2 Flemington Drive campus, such as agriculture and farms skills training.
Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said distance education "is great for a lot of different courses" but a hands on approach is also needed.
"This multi-trades hub and hub for our mobile training units will allow us to do that hands on training, whether it's agriculture, horticulture, fixing chainsaws, small motors or wool classing," he said.
The government confirmed last month the Flemington Drive property had been handed over to Racing NSW for $4 million, making the pledge that the revenue would go back into local teaching facilities.
The CLC in Scone's CBD sits on a quarter-acre block, however Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys was keen to spruik the opportunities they could create with all the newly acquired space on Flemington Drive when it is transformed into an 'equine centre of excellence'.
"This TAFE will be part of a major development here at Scone. We've purchased 425 acres of land to build a centre of excellence, we will be bringing international students here to the TAFE," he said.
"We will also be offering any course that is required by Scone. So if they need carpenters, or if they need electricians or if they need welders, we will offer the courses.
"It will bring a lot more new jobs, it will have new stables, new tracks and it will be a template for all our centres of excellence throughout NSW."
Labor's Upper Hunter candidate Jeff Drayton said locals would see through the announcement for a workshop at the CLC.
Mr Drayton said "the Nationals have finally realised there's enormous community concern about the future of skills training in the region".
"Nationals candidate David Layzell and Deputy Premier John Barilaro have again spruiked what a great deal the government has made, selling off Scone's TAFE campus to Racing NSW.
"But again I ask, a great deal for who? Racing NSW boss Peter V'Landys says the new facility will be a drawcard for international students.
"My concern is for education and training outcomes for local students in Scone and across the Upper Hunter - and they've been sold short."
The smaller-scale Scone TAFE CLC was opened to the public in July 2019 on Main Street with a focus on new technology and courses which can be obtained online.
It was the third CLC to open in the Upper Hunter electorate, with the first in Quirindi and the second in Singleton.
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