On Friday 30th April 2021, the Country Universities Centre (CUC) Macleay Valley was officially opened. The event was headlined by several guests including the Member for Cowper, Pat Conaghan MP, the Kempsey Shire Council Mayor, Liz Campbell, and the local CUC Board, who joined with community members to celebrate the Centre’s opening.
The Study Hub, located at Kempsey Central, has been operational to students since March 2021 and already more than 70 students have registered and are using the Centre’s incredible facilities.
The Member for Cowper, Pat Conaghan, said that the Centre’s opening is a wonderful milestone for the Kempsey community.
“Students, at any Australian university, now have access to an outstanding Centre dedicated to assist them with their study right here in Kempsey,” Mr Conaghan said.
“With quiet study spaces, state-of-the-art IT equipment, administrative and academic support, our young people have the resources to help them succeed, and the choice to stay here with their family and friends whilst gaining a university degree.”
Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, said the Centre will enable more Macleay students to obtain a higher education qualification.
“It is important we provide a range of innovative learning opportunities for local university students,” Ms Pavey said.
Kempsey Shire Council Mayor, and CUC Macleay Valley Board Chair, Liz Campbell acknowledged the efforts of both Council staff and the CUC team in creating the Kempsey Centre.
“Both Council and the CUC Macleay Valley Board have long recognised that local education is fundamental to our community,” Ms Campbell said.
“The parents of Kempsey have for too many generations seen children leave the Shire to go to university.”
“We have worked towards creating a university presence for Kempsey since 2012 and now, with the support of the Australian Government and State governments, and working with the Council, the community board and the CUC, we have one in the heart of Kempsey’s CBD.”
CUC General Manager, Douglas Martin, highlighted the CUC’s important role for regional students and acknowledged significant contributions made towards the establishment and operations of the CUC Macleay Valley.
“Young Australians in major cities are twice as likely to be university educated as regional students. CUCs are helping level the playing field to address that disparity,” Mr Martin said.
“We want more people in regional communities, like Kempsey, to engage in tertiary education while remaining in their local area, developing skills and qualifications that will help them secure local jobs.”
“We are very grateful for the support received to date. Together the NSW Government and the Commonwealth have co-invested in a model that is showing great promise in regional communities across NSW and Australia.”
“Importantly, our CUCs are community-driven and managed. We thank and recognise the Macleay Valley community and the Kempsey Shire Council, who have worked tirelessly to create this fantastic Centre.”
“This Centre belongs to the Kempsey community, who fought to establish it and its students, who we believe will do incredible things.”
The Managing Director of Gowing Bros, John Gowing, the landlord of the CUC Macleay Valley Centre welcomed the opening of the CUC Macleay Valley.
“Gowings are pleased that such an important regional educational resource as CUC has chosen Kempsey Central as its home,” Mr Gowing said.
“Its presence continues to build on our vision of the centre as a true community hub since the successful opening of Riverside Movies in 2019 and we wish them every success.”
With the announcement of additional Australian Government funding for Regional University Centres in June 2020 the CUC has four operational new Centres in Parkes, Wonthaggi, Roma and now Kempsey. The CUC network will continue to expand this year when it opens two additional Centres, across three new locations including CUC Balonne (St George and Dirranbandi, QLD) and CUC Southern Shoalhaven (Ulladulla, NSW). The CUC’s network has expanded to regional New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
Any interested students should feel free to contact the CUC Macleay Valley Centre Manager, Kinne Ring on 0434 587 497.
During Semester 1 and 2, 2020, the network supported 1,061 students, from 38 different universities.
Statistics of students registered with CUC:
- 47% are first in their family to study
- 76% female, 24% male
- 8% aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Heritage
- 57% students are over the age of 25
- 50% full time and 50% part time
Top areas include health 28%, education 18% and psychology, social work, community services 18%
Through the CUC network, higher education students have access to dedicated study facilities from at least 7am – midnight seven days per week, as well as wrap around support from Centre Managers and Learning Skills Advisors
All CUC Centres operate with a local Board of Directors, ensuring the CUC operations reflect the needs and make-up of the local community.
Current CUC Centres include
- CUC Snowy Monaro (Cooma, NSW)
- CUC Goulburn (Goulburn, NSW)
- CUC Far West (Broken Hill, NSW)
- CUC North West (Narrabri and Moree, NSW)
- CUC Clarence Valley (Grafton, NSW)
- CUC Western Riverina (Griffith and Leeton, NSW)
- CUC Parkes (NSW)
- CUC Bass Coast (Wonthaggi, VIC)
- CUC Maranoa (Roma, QLD)