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Engaging with the community, how TAFE's are reaching out TAFE NSW outreach program
Posted by Celia Murray | July 22nd 2011

The Outreach Program, introduced by TAFE NSW, is designed to assist those who face challenges to studying. Student Celia Murry outlines the support the program provides, who can qualify, and how you can find out more about this opportunity. 

Deciding to attend TAFE or university is an important and exciting choice that people make every year. However because of disabilities or other problems many would be students feel as though pursuing an education may be difficult or even impossible. It is welcome knowledge that many institutions are doing their part in supporting and providing resources for those who need it.

Support for those who need it

Educational institutions are required to provide facilities and services that give people who are disadvantaged or have difficulty getting to TAFE the best chance at enrolling in and completing study.

It is about engaging with the community so that everybody has a chance to get higher education. It is also about giving minorities and people who face challenges a chance to study a course or internship and feel like other students.

In particular, TAFEs are ahead of the pack when it comes to innovating new and improved services for engaging with the community. Every TAFE will have services for students who are at a disadvantage.

One of the most impressive examples of this is the Outreach Program created by TAFE NSW.

The Outreach Program

The NSW TAFE’s have come together and established the Outreach program. It focuses on providing support to certain areas and peoples who may need help and are ‘facing barriers to learning’.

The barriers the program refers to includes:

  • Geographical and social isolation
  • Language and cultural factors
  • Financial hardship
  • Lack of educational confidence
  • Cultural factors
  • A disability
  • Family commitments
  • Being in a correctional centre

While all of these factors can provide difficulties to pursuing higher education, the TAFE NSW believe that they can be overcome with the Outreach program. Students wanting to enroll in one of the ten TAFE’s are able to get in contact with services on campus and address the problems they face.

If the TAFE believes that you are in need of extra funding or support then they will do their best to aid you. This could mean help with finding accommodation closer to campus, facilities for people with disabilities or religious requirements and extra tuition. Often the TAFE will try to run different aspects of the course closer to those in regional NSW in local regional centres.  

How to find out more

Get in contact with the student services at the TAFE you are interested in studying at. Find out about the facilities and services that would be helpful and in some cases vital to you attending TAFE.

They will help you address any problems so that you can enroll and receive constant support throughout your course. Box Hill TAFE for example has a service devoted to people with learning disorders and each student with a disability that enrolls will have a Learning Support Plan (LSP) to help them progress and succeed in their studies.

In a lot of cases, the aid doesn’t just stop there.

TAFE’s like Box Hill will also offer ongoing support to students. Some of the services provided, as listed on their website, include:

  • Liaison with teachers
  • Alternative formatting of class materials
  • Access to software and technology that enhances learning
  • Learning support in or out of class

For those who live in regional areas, TAFE NSW have hired support staff to cover particular areas and campuses where they can be contacted easily.

These are all impressive initiatives taken up by TAFE’s to provide long-lasting and effective support. When choosing your TAFE course and campus it is important to take things like the support into mind.