NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) and Swinburne University of Technology have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to ensure the continued delivery of tertiary education at Swinburne’s Prahran campus.
Under the proposition, NMIT would progressively develop the site as an educational precinct, creating a vibrant hub with a focus on Creative Industries and related training.
The signing of the MOU, which was announced today by NMIT CEO Dr Andy Giddy, has in-principle support from the Victorian Government.
“This proposal represents a unique opportunity for NMIT to develop a first-class arts training facility for Melbourne’s inner and southern eastern communities,” Dr Giddy said.
Vice-Chancellor of Swinburne University Professor Linda Kristjanson said the MOU was a sign of closer collaboration between Swinburne and NMIT, with plans to provide improved pathways for students.
“Given our complementary offerings, it makes sense to work together to offer students better pathways between the two institutions to build their qualifications should they wish to go onto further study,” said Professor Kristjanson.
NMIT hopes to commence operations at Prahran by the start of the 2014 academic year, subject to contract negotiations, due diligence and the necessary authority and approvals being provided by the Government.
Programs at the NMIT Prahran campus would focus on training in the creative industries and include courses in design, professional writing and editing, digital media, music, theatre arts, live production theatre and events (technical operations), sound production and screen and media. A number of non-arts vocational programs including business, hairdressing, beauty, events, and tourism would also be delivered at Prahran.
“We are convinced that the location of the Prahran campus – coupled with sensitive and creative redevelopment, and the introduction of a range of inter-related arts courses – will lead to a dynamic teaching institution producing skilled graduates for the arts and related industries,” Dr Giddy said.
Master Planning for the site has already commenced with a key focus on creating a vibrant central hub to improve both student and public amenity. NMIT will work closely with Stonnington Council and other key stakeholders to realise the potential of the site.
As well as delivering formal training, a renovated and re-visioned Prahran campus would actively engage with the community as a focal point for arts activity. To this end NMIT is engaging in preliminary discussions with St Kilda-based independent theatre company, Red Stitch, to explore ways to collaborate.
NMIT also plans a funding submission for a significant investment in technology (including video streaming and a range of interactive digital training resources) to make creative arts programs based at Prahran accessible to students in regional areas.
“We are also looking at the possibility of creating onsite accommodation,” Dr Giddy said. “This would allow students from outside Melbourne to ‘live in’ and experience a rich campus culture for designated intensive periods.”
NMIT is the largest provider of vocational education in Melbourne’s north and currently operates campuses in Collingwood, Heidelberg, Epping, Fairfield, Greensborough and Preston. The Institute traces its history back to 1912 and the opening of Collingwood Technical School. NMIT is also one of the largest TAFE providers of higher education in Victoria with over 20 degree programs on offer.