Future looks bright for Warrnambool's community college

WARRNAMBOOL’S community college is beginning to stabilise after months of strife.

A new board and chief executive have been appointed to steer the college out of troubled waters. 

In April former members of the board resigned after voting to close the college, which was hard hit by TAFE funding cuts. 

A public outcry from supporters along with an asset sell-off gave the college a last-minute reprieve. 

Acting chief executive Debra Dumesny said the college still had some way to go. 

“We’re not out of the dim dark water yet but we’ve stared closure down the barrel,” she said. 

“We’re managing to keep open and at high capacity.” 

State government TAFE cuts phased in this year slashed hourly funding for courses. 

The cuts were implemented over summer when the college had little cash flow because of a seasonal lull in course. 

Ms Dumesny said the college would be better prepared next year to handle its finances. 

The college needs at least $2 million in funding to stay afloat each year and is still expected to fall short this year. 

“We’re not going to make that this year but we’re expecting to reach that by the end of 2015,” she said. 

“It’s got to be a tight ship until the end of the year ... there’s still a lot of work to be done.” 

A 10-member board was appointed at the end of June to manage the college.

The college, spread over two sites, employs four full-time staff, two part-time and nearly 20 sessional teachers in Warrnambool. 

The smaller Hamilton campus employs two full-time and two part-time staff, with a fluctuating number of sessional staff. 

About 30 short courses and classes are offered across both sites. 

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