A NEW university course in veterinary technology is expected to attract more students to the rural city.
It will also bridge the gap between Victorian metropolitan and regional tertiary enrolments.
Charles Sturt University (CSU) and GOTAFE will roll out a Bachelor of Veterinary Technology degree from 2015 that has potential to take in 265 students.
The State Government will inject $730,000 into the $1.3 million initiative that will help generate the delivery of more higher education courses in regional areas.
GOTAFE’s link to the degree will offer four pathways for non-year 12 graduates, students with lower ATARs, or those wishing to upgrade veterinary nursing qualifications.
Minister for Higher Education Peter Hall said the program will also help bridge the gap between country and metropolitan tertiary enrolment rates, which differ by 20 per cent.
OnTrack survey data, which analyses school leavers, indicates that 58 per cent 2012 VCE metropolitan student graduates are enrolled in tertiary education, compared to only 38 per cent regional students.
It is a reflection of the issue that country students have to live away from home which is also reflected in the deferral rates.
“The rates show that 7.5 per cent (metro) and 15.6 per cent (regional) defer their studies,” Mr Hall said.
“We need to train vets, health professionals and a whole range of people to meet our workforce needs in regional areas.
“This is so students can live at home, study at home and practice their professions in their local area.”
More on this story will appear in Friday’s Wangaratta Chronicle.