A successful La Trobe University program will continue its mission to bridge the higher education gap between Greater Melbourne and regional Victoria after funding was secured to expand further into the state.
Mildura will now benefit from the Pathways Program following a generous donation by the McCall MacBain Foundation.
Half of this contribution will support the Mildura program over the next three years, while the remaining funds will establish a scholarship program for graduates across the Pathways Program who show leadership potential and a commitment to give back to their local communities.
La Trobe University Chancellor, the Honourable John Brumby AO, said the Mildura expansion is critical as the regional centre records the lowest attainment across the University’s four regional campuses.
“The Pathways Program has made a positive impact in Albury-Wodonga and Shepparton, with 70 per cent of students who’ve completed the La Trobe Pathway beginning their transition to higher education,” Mr Brumby said.
“We must rise to this mission critical challenge of increasing opportunities for higher education support and resources to help disadvantaged regional secondary school students achieve a university offer.”
Latest statistics reveal just 12.4 per cent of people aged 19 to 21 attend university or higher education in Mildura, a stark contrast to 50 per cent in Greater Melbourne.
Mr Brumby warned that if participation rates are not lifted, new jobs and related opportunities will be lost to other regions.
“With the National Skills Commission forecasting that more than two in every three new jobs over the next five years will require a university qualification, it’s vital we work together to substantially lift university participation in the Mildura region,” Mr Brumby said.
The Chancellor led a round table discussion on Thursday, 23 November, with industry leaders across various sectors, including councils, businesses, schools, and government agencies.
The discussion focused on broader conversations about what the community and economy need for graduates of the future and what they see as the barriers to higher educational attainment.