THE EARLY stages of a university in Tamworth are set to begin rolling out as soon as next year.
The University of New England (UNE) has launched its plan for a university campus in the city, mapping out a timeline for progress over the next decade.
The plan shows undergraduate certificates and the first of several integrated learning centres should be available to students in 2021, with Bachelors degrees to follow the year after.
The vision was presented to industry leaders, stakeholders and community members in Tamworth on Friday.
Several 'hubs' will be dotted across the city for work-integrated learning, at places like the Sports Dome and the hospital.
UNE Vice-Chancellor Professor Brigid Heywood said the launch on Friday was an "apex moment".
"We're all very clear what we're doing and we're all very clear about where we're going," she said.
"We're committing to a shared responsibility to make this go forward and that's a phenomenal opportunity."
The new Centre for Entertainment Management is set to get off the ground in Tamworth as early as next year and use the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC) as a learning space.
"We're going to connect learning with precincts that are in the city ... to offer a new kind of embedded education at a university level," Professor Heywood said.
"There are very high numbers here in Tamworth of people who have not thought of, or do not aspire to participate in university, but the success of Australia is going to be dependent on well-educated knowledge workers and we have a responsibility to contribute to that."
Plans for a university in Tamworth have been in the pipeline for more than a year, and Tamworth's mayor Col Murray said the step forward is exciting.
"This is the culmination of a year's work, where the university, the council, the leaders in our community, the university reference group, we have all come together over the past year and worked out a plan, and today it's push-button day for the new university," he said.
"It's incredibly rewarding."
Some resources have already been secured but Professor Heywood said the next steps include securing more funding.
Despite the recent announcement of cost-cutting measures at UNE in the wake of COVID-19, Professor Heywood said the university is in a position to expand.
UNE estimated the project will create more than 320 local jobs across the new university campus and the wider community by 2031.
The story 'Push-button day': Plan maps out progress for Tamworth university first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.