Education precinct re-brands as Murray Bridge Learning Campus

Dreams of an education hub in Murray Bridge are still alive.

Civic leaders are pushing ahead with a long-term plan centred on the Murray Bridge TAFE site under a new name: Murray Bridge Learning Campus.

If anyone wants to provide a course in Murray Bridge, the idea is to encourage them to use the Swanport Road site's theatres and classrooms, which have been under-utilised by the TAFE in recent years.

A salon essentials course ran there in the July school holidays, and bookings are now being taken for a leadership development course which will provide Certificate IV and Diploma qualifications to aspiring leaders, managers and trainers.

Barista and responsible service of alcohol courses are also being planned.

By focusing all the city's educational energy in one place, proponents hope, it could become a kind of university-lite: somewhere students could congregate, with access to wi-fi and chill-out spaces, that would reduce the need for young people to move to Adelaide to study.

More highly trained local workers would also be able to earn more, boosting the Murraylands' economy.

The city's council and public high school, Unity College, TAFE SA and Regional Development Australia (RDA) are all behind the plan.

Council CEO Michael Sedgman said there was power in such partnerships.

"By working together, our organisations can promote education and training to more people, from high school students to mature-aged members of our communities," he said.

RDA Murraylands and Riverland chief executive Jo Podoliak hoped the campus could offer the training people wanted and that local businesses needed.

"We expect that business people, employees, job seekers, school students and community groups will benefit from new courses by a range of providers," she said.

Unity College trade skills manager Jaylene Phillips said the courses on offer so far were a great way to get experience that would open career doors.

No fewer than five reports explored the vision of an educational hub at the TAFE site between 2007 and 2015, when former Port Adelaide Football Club executive Brian Cunningham found Murray Bridge was growing fast but incomes were low.

The opening of the Chaffey Learning Exchange last February had been the single largest step towards a different future, but plans also focused on attracting a university campus or hosting senior classes from the overflowing Murray Bridge High School.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly indicated the Chaffey Learning Exchange had lost its funding.


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