North Coast TAFENorth Coast TAFE have discussed with us how they are adapting to the changing environment of education and the solutions they are providing to students and industry with digital technologies.

Organisation Overview

North Coast TAFE is the largest providor of vocational education and training in the NSW North Coast region. They currently run 17 campuses, with over 45 thousand enrollments and over 2000 teachers and support staff. Their courses cover a broad range of subject matter and hold strong ties with industry.

How have your customer needs been changing in the face of digital technologies?

We’re increasingly seeing businesses who need training on how they can effectively engage with the digital economy. Many of these businesses are beginning to acknowledge the presence of a knowledge gap in that area. They want to know what tools are available to them and how they can use them to sustain and increase their businesses.

A key consideration of our customers at present is flexibility. People are very busy and taking on a lot of things at once, and hence they expect their access to training and education to be flexible and work around their other commitments. This demands flexible course delivery on our behalf, and also an increase in digital literacy from our customers.

How has North Coast TAFE been adapting to meet the needs of students and organisations?

NC TAFE has steadily increased investment in a range of online training options, and we have developed several strategic partnerships to expand our market to national and international customers.

We have invested in mobile learning products and many of our processes which were once required to be completed manually can now be done online. Considerable investment has been made in student enrollment and finance systems, while infrastructure is upgraded significantly each year. Our campuses have widespread wireless coverage available, meaning our students aren’t tied down by desks and cables.

We’ve been working on a number of projects to move to the next generation of learning technology, including Skills Locker which will allow users to access learning materials from mobile devices. In order to stay up to date with industry progressions we frequently invest in new technology, enter new business ventures encouraging innovation and invest in our staff across a broad spectrum of skills.

Can you provide an example of how digital technologies and the NBN provide educational opportunities for those living in remote and rural areas?

A good example is our current proposal to develop Allied Health Paraprofessional training using the capabilities of the NBN. Demand driven education is an emerging area of state and federal government policy reform. Healthy regional communities need essential specialty services delivered by workers with high skill level, but are often in low supply. This project would allow us to aggregate demand by using digital services to deliver training to those in remote areas.

A good illustration of the problems facing health care professions is the recruitment of dental assistants in regional dental practices. Often this involves either an expensive and time consuming recruitment campaign in a capital city or very costly training involving travel to a capital city or trying to train the assistant themselves outside of an accredited process. North Coast TAFE is seeking Education Investment Fund (EIF) funding to address allied health training by building 5 state of the art medical eHubs. These will provide training facilities across the north coast within a 100 km radius of any potential allied health trainees.

How do you use social media tools to engage and support stakeholders?

We use a range of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Firstly, they’re great ways to provide support to our students and partners. We can answer simple questions on Facebook and Twitter and take some stress off our other support services. They also allow us to deliver information efficiently to our friends and followers, and share the achievements of those involved in our programs.

Through social media, and particularly YouTube, we can deliver our message through more diverse mediums. The content is highly sharable and can create more tangibility to the services we provide.