| Editorial

Most major regional cities have a university, which is often the backbone of their economy – Wagga Wagga, Armidale, Albury and Bathurst are all great examples.

It’s actually a credit to Tamworth it’s able to survive and thrive without one. 

But without one, the city will continue to see its future skilled workers leaving the city to further their education.

Tamworth is a great place to live. But if you ask a high school graduate or young person to choose between their hometown and getting the qualifications for their dream job, nine times out of 10 they’ll choose their career (perhaps with the hope of one day coming home).

The University of Newcastle has a presences in Tamworth through its Department of Rural Health and the University of New England has a study centre on Fitzroy St, but without a doubt more education options are needed.

A survey by The Leader found one in five people thought a lack of tertiary education options was the biggest reason Tamworth struggled to attracted new residents or skilled workers.

A number of local businesses have advertised positions for skilled jobs, but are yet to attract a single application. 

Tamworth Regional Council is in the process of addressing the issue and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Newcastle at the end of 2016.

The agreement will investigate Tamworth’s education needs and opportunities.

The other higher education option is TAFE.

TAFE New England revealed Early Childhood Education and Care and Business Administration were among its most popular courses in 2016.

Not far behind were Automotive Vocational Preparation, Electrotechnology Electrician, Carpentry, Nursing and Animal Studies.

However, the state government and TAFE NSW have recently copped criticism for cutting service and placing more emphasis on digital learning. 

In this day and age, more emphasis needs to be placed on the digital realm, but can it replace something as intrinsic as face-to-face teaching?

The government has argued online learning will allow regional TAFEs to offer more courses than traditional teaching methods, but the cynic would say it is merely the cheaper of the two options.

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