South West TAFE is governed by a Board of Management (board). The board comprises 10 members (including the board chair) with diverse skills, knowledge and experience.
The objectives, powers and functions of the board are set out in the revised Constitution of the Board (2016). The board was established under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006.
South West TAFE reports to the Victorian Parliament through the Hon. Gayle Tierney MP, Minister for Training & Skills. The Higher Education and Skills Group, a division of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, manages the organisation’s Performance Agreement with the Victorian Government.
The Department of Education and Training (DET) supports and facilitates access to training and tertiary education opportunities so that Victorians can acquire higher skills that are utilised by, and contribute to the success of, Victorian businesses.
Our South TAFE board, executive team and staff have undertaken a comprehensive review of our strategic direction to ensure our organisation continues to exemplify the best qualities of a public TAFE.
The board, as well as staff and external stakeholders, were all crucial participants in the review. The result is a clear and forward-looking Strategic Plan for 2019 – 2021, delivering on our ambition to deliver ‘future focused education that creates a lifetime of opportunity and employability’.
South West TAFE has a long and proud history of providing technical and specialist education, with links back to the formation of the Mechanic’s Institute in 1853.
In 1913, the Warrnambool Technical School was established on the site and operated within the state education system. It became the Warrnambool Technical College in 1958, with the commencement of full diploma courses.
In 1969, the tertiary section of the Warrnambool Technical College became affiliated with the Victorian Institute of Colleges and became the Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education (WIAE).
The TAFE section separated from the WIAE in 1984 and became the Warrnambool College of Technical and Further Education (TAFE). The establishment of campuses at Hamilton and Portland prompted a name change in 1992, when it became known as the South West College of TAFE. Three years later (in 1995) the name by which the organisation is now known was adopted —South West Institute of TAFE.
We are also active in the community, providing supported education to students with special needs. Our youth programs offer young people the chance to reconnect and engage. Campuses are located in Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton, and Colac with facilities and services set to expand as the region grows.
As an education provider and a custodian of major public assets, social responsibility continued to play a vital role in our business. South West TAFE empowers its employees to serve their communities by supporting them to take part in fundraising activities, public events, forums and steering committees.
Our strong community involvement enables teachers to secure a wide variety of practical work experience opportunities for students. Working closely with our various community partners ensures student learning is developed through organised programs, and partner organisation requirements are met. Student opportunities range from work placements to volunteering at world-renowned festivals and small community events or activities.
We continue to place great value on our involvement with Warrnambool City Council’s multi award-winning Fun4Kids Festival. Since the event began in 1998, we have played a pivotal role in its success and the partnership has provided valuable workplace experiences for many of our students. We actively strive to strengthen partnerships across the regional community, through staff activities; we are represented on more than 200 forums, reference groups and committees in the region.
South West TAFE recognises the fact that the future of our planet is everyone's responsibility. One of the greatest challenges we face is the ability to manage our resources and meet the needs of a growing population.
We take our role in this challenge very seriously.This includes undertaking extensive work to reduce the Institute's impact on the environment as well as working in partnership with industry, government and the community to support the development and implementation of sustainable practices. As part of this ongoing commitment, the Institute has recently completed substantial capital works under the Greener Government Buildings program. This has included installed a gas-fired Combined Heat and Power plant at the Warrnambool Campus to supply peak energy demand as well as substantial lighting, water and building infrastructure upgrades across the Institute.
Sustainability training is another focus of South West TAFE. Courses are offered in Sustainability including industry-specific training in Green Skills such as the Grid Connect PV Installer Accreditation and the Sustainability Skills Set from the TAE10 Training Package. Sustainable principles are also being incorporated into as many varied courses as possible including specific core units such as Participate in Environmentally Sustainable Practice.
National Centre for Sustainability
South West TAFE has been a long-term member of the National Centre for Sustainability (NCS). It brings together a dedicated network of individuals to further develop and promote sustainability concepts and education.The six collaborating institutes are: Swinburne University of Technology, Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, University of Ballarat, South West Institute of TAFE, Challenger TAFE - Western Australia, Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE.
We are also a member of the Sustainable Campus Group and utilise their methodology to report annually on our environmental performance in comparison to the other tertiary institutions across Australia. We provide advice to educational authorities and work with the government to ensure that Australia is well placed in vocational education and training markets relevant to sustainability.
Being part of these networks ensures the best possible expertise and resources are collected to provide first class Sustainability training to South West Victoria.
The Victorian Public Sector Commission requires South West TAFE to publish their Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Register and Policy each year.
The Policy and Register apply to all South West TAFE staff.
Appropriately managing gifts, benefits and hospitality allows South West TAFE to maintain public trust and ensure that as Victorian public officials we are placing the publics interests at the forefront of everything we do. By considering the impact of being offered or providing gifts, benefits and hospitality, the Institute sets a strong foundation for integrity and avoids the potential for reputational damage to the public sector.
The Institute has adapted the ‘Thanks is Enough’ Campaign which was developed by the Tasmanian Integrity Commission and has since been adopted by the Department of Education & Training, Victoria. The campaign encourages staff to demonstrate that we do not need gifts or benefits and that a simple thank you is enough.
The campaign’s core message is that simple expressions of appreciation from the public and businesses are welcomed, but if that expression involves a gift then it may present a risk to the employee and the Institute in relation to openness and transparency when dealing with the public. Therefore ‘Thanks is Enough’