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CDU proposes restructure to balance budget, unify VET and HE, allow for future growth

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CDU is seeking feedback on a draft Change Proposal

CDU is seeking feedback on a draft Change Proposal to unify Vocational Education and Training and Higher Education across the university.

The draft proposal provides $10m in savings through financial efficiencies across the university and positions CDU for growth - with better pathways for more VET students.

“This will be a difficult time for many at CDU,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor Meredith Parry said. 

“The way to make the significant savings required by Council will be for CDU to balance our budget through unifying VET and Higher Ed to support growth. 

“I am acutely aware that losing a position in a national market that could see up to 21,000 university sector jobs go by the end of the year* is confronting, and comprehensive staff support measures have been put in place for staff and their families,” she said.

The draft Change Proposal identifies 77 positions across CDU which would no longer be required, this is 5% of all CDU employees.

This draft Change Proposal effectively replaces a different proposal released last year that was not implemented.

Under the 2020 draft Change Proposal, CDU would continue to deliver all but 19 of the current 199 VET courses on offer. Some of the 19 courses to be removed have no current enrolments.  

Importantly CDU would work with all current students to ensure they have an option to finish or continue their studies. 

CDU is one of only six dual-sector universities in Australia, with 8,700 or 45% of its students enrolled in VET. However, since 2012, funding and enrolment for VET across Australia has been falling and the challenges of delivering VET in remote locations in the NT also presents unique challenges.

Two external reports by Ernst & Young, and Drs Shanahan and Zoellner outline the specific challenges faced by CDU and found the current VET structure to be financially unsustainable. 

Both recommended significant restructure of CDU’s VET to balance the budget and refocus on growth opportunities.  

“Bringing VET and HE together would allow us to respond better to the needs of business and industry, respond to COVID and the challenges beyond," Ms Parry said.

“Already CDU has had an increase in interstate enrolments for VET courses because students see the Territory as a safe place to do their VET training and study where they can attend classes in person, not just online." 

The draft Change Proposal will undergo consultation with staff until October 18, along with gathering feedback from industry and employers.


* Universities Australia