Tuesday 1 September 2015
Businesses, training organisations and people wanting to boost their vocational skills will soon be offered the services of a regional training centre in Merimbula thanks to a prudent Council investment.
The Bega Valley Regional Learning Centre, formerly the Auswide Services building, will return and expand a much needed training facility to the area.
Mayor, Michael Britten, said the facility will provide a self-funded option for Council to invest in the Shire’s economic development.
“A decision was made to purchase the former Auswide building following a Council business plan which identified a lack of professional training venues within the Shire and surrounding region,” he said.
“We made contact with more than 50 registered training organisations with an advertised presence in the region and 46 responded positively that if suitably priced premises were available they would consider hiring those facilities to deliver training.
“It is encouraging that among the 46 organisations keen to use the facility, four have expressed an interest in becoming potential anchor tenants.
“This presents itself as an excellent investment for Council and the community in purchasing a building commercially valued at $2.1 million for $1.29 million plus a diminishing primary mortgage of $550,000 with NSW State Training Services, transferred and not paid out.
“This mortgage reduces annually without cost if the facility is maintained as a training facility and is set to be valued at zero by 2018. Council staff will now work with State Training Services on finalising agreements with registered training organisations to deliver services at the centre.
“Council’s recently adopted Economic Development Strategy clearly identifies a need to provide business growth tools for employers, and vocational training options for the local and regional population wanting to advance their skills and employability.
“Our research shows significant job growth in the local health sector, which creates a demand for industry training, plus a capacity to upskill the local workforce.
“The learning centre presents us with an opportunity to provide additional functions for the Merimbula community, including conferencing facilities, bill payments, library drop offs and advice on Council services.
“A report before Council at this week’s meeting recommends the drafting of an operating plan for the facility, which is a vital step towards establishing the learning centre as a hub for growth in Merimbula and the Shire,” Cr Britten said.