City of Karratha

City of Karratha provides additional support to Pilbara Universities Centre

24 Dec 2019

Access to tertiary education for City of Karratha residents has received a boost, with Council agreeing to provide $450,000 funding over the next three years to the Pilbara Universities Centre (PUC).

The PUC is a regional universities centre headquartered in Karratha, which will support the delivery of online education courses in partnership with select Australian universities. It has a study hub in Port Hedland and hopes to establish study hubs in Newman and Onslow in the future.

The PUC is based on the successful Geraldton Universities Centre’s mixed mode model, which provides local students with the opportunity to enrol in online university courses with PUC partner universities and receive administrative, pastoral and academic support from the universities centre and its locally based academic and student support staff.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said establishing a universities centre in Karratha would provide residents access to locally-based tertiary education services which will enhance the City’s liveability.

“This facility will provide much-needed support to those wanting to undertake tertiary education studies without having to leave their home and family or their Pilbara based employment,” Cr Long said.

“Reducing the number of students leaving the Pilbara to pursue higher education could benefit our local economy by an estimated $6.6m during the first six years of the PUC’s operations.

“A Pilbara-based regional universities centre would also be ideally located to work with industry, such as technology and resources, to develop courses to address future skills shortages.

“Council is pleased to partner with the Pilbara Universities Centre to offer additional support to progress this important project.”

The City of Karratha has allocated $150,000 per year over the next three years, with the 2019/20 financial year funding contributing to fit out costs at The Quarter, which will house the Karratha campus. It is anticipated that the fit-out will be complete by the end of March 2020.

PUC Director Susan Grylls said the Pilbara Universities Centre was proud to partner with the City of Karratha to establish a ‘state of the art’ tertiary education support facility in the Pilbara.

“To date, Pilbara residents have been disadvantaged with respect to their access to university education, with the percentage of university students and graduates in the Pilbara being significantly less that residents in metropolitan areas and other rural and regional areas of Australia,” Ms Grylls said.

“The establishment of the PUC will provide current and aspirant students with the ability to undertake supported university education without having to leave the Pilbara.”

The PUC’s website is now live and expressions of interest are being sought from students keen to undertake CQUniversity’s STEPS and Curtin University’s UniReady university bridging programmes in Semester 1, 2020.

STEPS and UniReady provide an alternative entrance pathway to university and qualifies students for entry to programs supported at PUC, as well as Perth and Queensland-based universities.