School’s in at The Mills

A COLLECTION of abandoned buildings in the heart of New Norfolk are to be converted into a education and training hub.

From the people behind The Mills project, Noble Ventures have purchased the Royal Derwent Hospital nurses’ quarters and recreation centre.

Describing the proposal as a game changer for jobs, skills-shortages and socio-economic outcomes in the Derwent Valley and surrounding regions, director Roger Noble said he envisioned the campus would deliver a range of tertiary qualifications from a mix of providers including TAFE, Registered Training Organisations and industry trade schools.

In addition to 110 beds in refurbished rooms from when the property was used as the Derwent Valley Resort, the site includes a 120-seat lecture theatre, commercial kitchen, basketball court, swimming pool, gymnasium, conference rooms and dining areas.

“Our vision builds on our commitment to invest in infrastructure and amenities to support population growth stimulated by The Mills project and generate enhanced socio-economic outcomes for the region,” Mr Noble said.

Derwent Valley Mayor Ben Shaw said the education campus would dramatically increase access to tertiary education opportunities for the Derwent Valley and surrounding catchment areas.

“It’s well known there are skills shortages, particularly in service-related industries, both here in the Derwent Valley, but also across the state,” Mr Shaw said.
“These skill shortages stem from a lack of accessible training opportunities, which will continue to hold the region back until a solution comes along. This opportunity provides that solution.”

It is envisioned the campus will host a range of education providers, including TasTAFE, private RTOs, corporate organisations, trade schools and not-for-profits.

It is estimated the campus could cater for 340 TAFE attendees per year once operational, with this figure to increasing to 410 by 2036.

In addition, the campus could cater for up to 510 attendees from the primary catchment area (Derwent Valley and Central Highlands) and 960 attendees from the secondary catchment area (Brighton and Southern), enrolled in courses delivered by other training providers.

The forecasts rise to 580 and 1260 attendees for each respective catchment by 2036.