Crowd funding last resort to keep local college doors open

A TAMWORTH college is turning to crowd funding in a last-ditch attempt to keep their doors open.

The Tamworth College of Counselling Studies is finding it hard to continue with costs rising and enrolments dropping.

“The problem is money and difficulty in publicising the college and attracting students,” principal Jenny Regan said.

Former student Judy James said the unique aspect of this course was that it was heavily practical.

“It is the best course because it is practical and the the online courses are not practical,” she said.

Mrs Regan said counselling was about relationships with people, which was difficult to learn if you studied online and on your own.

“Sydney colleges advertise aggressively here, but country students have to travel to Sydney and other parts are done on the computer,” she said.

“Their students have worked very hard to get qualifications, but they don’t have the practical skills.”

She said the other issue was that if students did their courses in the city, they often didn’t return to country areas where counsellors were needed.

“Our graduates work in small centres because they’re from those areas,” Mrs Regan said.

“The course has been built up over time to meet the needs of the area, so there is a good rural component about issues that are local.

“There is also a good component on working with Aboriginal people. This is a way of addressing mental health issues in rural areas at the moment.

“There is a great worry about the mental health of farmers, so I thought the politicians would be falling over themselves to keep this going.”

The college runs tutorials in Moree, Inverell, Armidale and Tamworth and wherever there is a group of students to teach

So far, the college has had one donation to keep it going, with a group of students studying through the facility.

The college has set up a crowd funding initiative with donations now being taken through PayPal, using the email address principal@counsellingstudiesnenw.org.au

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