A $2.25 million project bringing together six education providers across Victoria’s west is set to strengthen pathways for rural and regional students entering the vital discipline of land management. 

The Integrated Land Management Curriculum for Victoria (ILMCV), funded by the Department of Education and Training, will be launched today at the University of Melbourne’s Creswick Campus.

The project involves tertiary providers across 18 locations in the state’s west, including the University of Melbourne, Federation University Australia, Bendigo TAFE, Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, Timber Training Creswick and South West Institute of TAFE.

The ILMCV aims to make it easier for rural and remote students to participate in tertiary studies by streamlining cooperation between education providers in the important area of land management.

The project will deliver:

• new teaching programs
• flexible learning options into new and existing programs
• stronger articulation pathways between TAFE and universities
• a market research ‘needs’ analysis
• a Victorian Regional Think Tank workshop series
• a new www.landyourcareer.edu.au website for prospective students

In all, five teaching programs have been created through the ILMCV, with another two scheduled for 2016.

Delivery options have also been enhanced in other programs, for example, the Bachelor of Environment and Conservation Science which now offers a ‘flexible’ off-campus stream in the first year to complement on-campus teaching.

Federation University Australia’s Dr Simon Cook says the change now makes the qualification accessible to rural and regional students otherwise restricted by time or work pressures.

Another key element of the project was the development of a qualification articulation model between institutes that provides students with pathway options to move between the Australian Qualification Framework from Certificate III to Master level.

These options allow students to ‘fast-track’ their subsequent qualification through credit arrangements between partner organisations to reduce the length of study.

“We wanted to bridge the gap between TAFE/VET and universities so students get recognition for the skills and knowledge they already have,” notes Professor Gerd Bossinger, Head of the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

“Learning is a life-long process and it is recognition that completing your first qualification may be just the starting point of a career journey.”

Sunraysia Institute of TAFE’s Stan Pietsch says the ‘Think Tank’ workshops were also a crucial element of the ILMCV project.

“People told us the modern day land manager is someone who not only understands the land, but also its people” he says.

“They want land managers who can communicate with community and stakeholders to affect real change on the land.”

All the feedback has been taken on-board in education program development.