TAMWORTH has more year 10 school leavers than HSC graduates, new figures have revealed.
Last year’s national Census found Tamworth locals were pulling the pin on their education at year 10 at higher rates than the NSW and Australian averages.
According to the 2016 Census, 16.6 per cent of people in the Tamworth Regional Council area listed year 10 as their highest level of educational attainment.
Only 11.1 per cent of residents said they’d completed year 12.
Across the state, just 11.5 per cant of people said they had only completed year 10, while the national average was lower again at 10.8 per cent.
Tamworth business-owner Mitchel Hanlon has advocated for an university campus to be established in town.
He said Tamworth’s educational Census data reflected a lack of access.
“It’s a cultural thing too,” Mr Hanlon said.
“It’s hard to get someone enthused about university when they come from a background that doesn’t put a prize on education.
Mr Hanlon said there would be 500 people ready to take up a place at a Tamworth university campus if one was established and would go a long way to changing attitudes towards education in the region.
“There’s an attitude of country kids not thinking they’re good enough because they didn’t go to a good Sydney school or university,” he said.
“If people know there’s a pathway, that’s an incentive.
“We need more country people to share their success stories and say ‘my old man was a truck driver and now I run an accountancy firm’.”
He said a campus established in Tamworth would need to align with TAFE, pointing to jobs often requiring a mix of “technical and academic skills”.
Calrossy careers adviser and Tamworth councillor Charles Impey said he wasn’t dealing with a great number of students looking to leave school at the end of year 10.
“There’s not many at all, maybe two-out-of-100,” he told The Leader.
“I think that statistic has probably declined.”
Even though the rate of people with a bachelor degree in Tamworth (12.5 per cent) was almost half the state average (23.4 per cent), Mr Impey said a university campus would do “multiple things” for the city.
“You’d pick up young adults on the fringes who might not have been able to afford to move away for university,” he said. “There’d be mature-age students.
“For people who grew-up in other country towns, a course offered in Tamworth could be a positive because there are so many facilities in town.”