New university hub open for business in Cooktown

03 May 2023

By SARAH MARTIN

COOKTOWN’S new study support centre has thrown open its doors to the public, with an official opening scheduled for May. Country Universities Centre Cape York manager Jenni James invited anyone interested in having a chat to pop in.

“We still have a lot of finishing touches to do, but we are here every day and people are welcome to come in and meet us, check out the centre and find out what we offer,” Ms James said. “We can help you get started on your study journey.”

Local and Western Yalanji man Marley Sharp started work as the centre’s Indigenous engagement coordinator a fortnight ago, and said he was looking forward to tailoring support to ensure everyone had the opportunity to pursue study.

“A lot of people wouldn’t even consider doing university or certificate-level study, but there are so many different options and pathways now,” he said. “One of the biggest challenges is not wanting to go away to study, and not having a suitable place at
home to study, so having something like this in Cooktown is going to open the door for so many people.”

The centre offers services to people from Year 10 level and up who were studying with a registered training organisation, TAFE or university. It aims to help bridge the gap between remote and urban education, with three study rooms available for bookings, as well as a shared study space, lounge, shared space, training room and kitchen.

“The idea is to support and encourage students, whether it is to guide people in where and what they might want to study, help them with enrolments, looking at different courses, connect with other students and provide academic skills support,” Ms James said. “I’ll be at the centre from 8.30am to 5pm weekdays, but once students enrol with us they will be able to access the centre from 5am to midnight, seven days a week.”

The not-for-profit centre, located on Charlotte Street, is funded until 2025 under the federal government’s Regional University Centres program. It is governed by an independent board comprised of Cook Shire Council, university and TAFE members.

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