Increased community connections are being fostered in the State’s West through a new University of Tasmania-supported initiative.
The West Coast Alumni & Friends event was held in Queenstown on Thursday, 11 April.
Organised in partnership between the Cradle Coast campus and the Alumni Advisory Committee, the evening connected around 50 people of all ages and backgrounds.
The long-term objective is to create a network that fosters a ‘community of learning’ and contributes to the West Coast’s cultural, social and economic prosperity.
Cradle Coast campus General Manager Danielle Kidd said the movement built on work the University was already supporting in the region through a community partnership.
“Through the West Coast Education Project, the University is committed to supporting this community achieve greater access to education and training,” Ms Kidd said.
“We invited attendees to contribute ideas that will help inform future events, activities and professional development opportunities in the region.
“By connecting alumni with each other and the community, we hope to encourage people living on the West Coast to actively participate in the growing community of learning.
“The creation of an ongoing program would add another voice to advocate for the region, while supporting new arrivals and students through mentoring, sharing skills and developing ideas for community learning.”
West Coast Councillor and University alumnus Leigh Styles said the evening event stemmed from the Council’s Education and Training Advisory Committee.
“We have a lot of professional people working here on the West Coast whether that’s our surveyors or geologists working in the mine, or our engineers, nurses, teachers or pharmacists,” Councillor Styles said.
“These people face challenges when they move to places like the West Coast - it can be a bit isolating - so the event was an opportunity to bring people together for friendship and networking.
“People are happier and they’re more likely to stay in the West Coast when they’ve got networks and a web of connections, so that’s what we’re hoping to build on.
“The event was a huge success in capturing ideas for an ongoing program of activities that aims to help not just individuals who move here, but the whole community.”
Developments of the West Coast Education Project to date include the expansion of the Children’s University program to the region and a successful bid for a $2.52 million federal grant which will fund a Regional Study Hub in Zeehan.
The University is also working in partnership with Tasmanian Leaders Inc on a West Coast Leadership Program which will be offered later this year.