The University of Newcastle, Australia

Leaders gather to shape the future of Central Coast Higher Education

Monday, 19 October 2015

Leaders from across the Central Coast's political, business and education sectors met on the Coast today to shape a new strategy for higher education engagement in the region.

The Central Coast Higher Education Summit, organised by the University of Newcastle (UON), focussed on building opportunity on the Central Coast, and creating strong and productive engagement between UON Central Coast and the community.  

UON Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Andrew Parfitt, said the Summit brought the University and Central Coast community together to explore opportunities for future growth in higher education.  

"The Central Coast is a fantastic region and we are proud to be its university," said Professor Parfitt.

"We have been in partnership with Hunter TAFE at Ourimbah for over 26 years, and together we have achieved extraordinary outcomes for the region."

"Today's Summit allows us to work with regional leaders to ensure we can play our part in shaping the future of the Central Coast".

A new, independent analysis published today by the Hunter Research Foundation shows the Ourimbah campus will contribute almost $700 million of flow-on economic benefits over the next ten years. In addition to the $600 million turnover of the campus over the decade, the Ourimbah campus is worth $1.3 billion to the Central Coast economy.

"The University is absolutely committed to the Central Coast and supporting the expansion and transition of its economy," said Professor Parfitt.

"More than $100m has been invested in facilities at Ourimbah, with more than $20m in new developments since 2007 and $1.5m for the new state-of-the-art Oral Health simulation facility that opened just this year."

The Summit also discussed how to widen access to higher education for talented students from all walks of life on the Coast.

"From just 89 students 26 years ago, UON Central Coast now enrolls almost 4,500 students across our world-class programs. Everyone on the Coast with the talent and commitment to succeed at university has the opportunity to access a world-class education," Professor Parfitt said.

"We are proud of our record as a centre of equity and excellence on the Coast. We enrol twice the proportion of students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds compared to the Australian university average, and more than double the proportion of Indigenous students. We support them to achieve great outcomes."

UON Central Coast is also home to world-class research including the new ARC Training Centre for Food and Beverage Supply Chain Optimisation, launched earlier this year, representing a $2.1m investment in research based on the Central Coast. 

Professor Parfitt said there are more plans for more investment.

"We plan to expand our presence on the Coast through a learning Hub in Gosford CBD to extend the reach of our academic programs and link more closely to the local business community, and develop new health and medical education and research facilities at Gosford Hospital, which will benefit the whole region," said Professor Parfitt.

UON Central Coast attracts local, interstate and international students and currently offers 18 complete programs at Ourimbah across four of our five faculties including exclusive programs in the fields of oral health, podiatry, exercise and sport science, food sciences and human nutrition.

Speakers at the Summit included:

  • Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Hunter, Scot MacDonald MLC
  • Federal Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks MP
  • Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle, Professor Caroline McMillen,
  • Chief Executive of Hunter TAFE, Christine Warrington
  • Chief Executive of Gosford City Council, Paul Anderson
  • Principal of Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College, Shayne Player
  • Central Coast Regional Manager, NSW Business Chamber, Daniel Farmer
  • Co-directors of the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education, Professor Geoff Whitty and Professor Penny-Jane Burke

Related news