Wimmera education advocates have shared their wishlists for what undergraduate degrees they would like students to be able to study face-to-face without leaving the region.
It follows Federation University confirming last week it will phase out Bachelor of Social Science, the only undergraduate course offered at its Horsham campus, following a lack of new enrolments.
In announcing the move, the university's Dean of Arts Professor Andrew Hope said it was keen to respond to "the skills and job needs" of the Wimmera.
Local Learning and Employment Network executive officer Tim Shaw said the Bachelor of Education was one course that could address these needs.
"We have a consistent shortage of teachers willing to move to regional areas to teach in both primary and secondary," he said.
"If people from our area wanted to study and it was delivered in horsham, that would provide some really good opportunities for employment at the completion of their degree."
Mr Shaw said other industries needing more skilled workers locally included commerce and business management.
"This would be unlikely to happen, but to be able to do a medical degree in a rural area like Horsham would be fantastic, given we have a constant shortage of doctors," he said.
"Probably just from a general point of view, an arts degree is often the foundation of a transition to more specialist degrees."
Wimmera Development Association executive officer Chris Sounness said businesses throughout the region regularly needed more engineers.
"We know we have a number of wind farms in the region, and people are looking to establish solar farms too," he said.
"It would be great to offer engineering (courses) locally that's going to support the growth of renewable energy jobs.
"We are very hopeful some mineral sands extraction will occur in the region, so if we have some locally-developed engineers that would also be great."
Federation University's chancellor Duncan Bentley said the university was committed to expanding the courses it offered in the Wimmera, though did not say if there were any specific courses it planned to roll out at this stage.
He told the Mail-Times it was exploring opportunities arising from the Federal Government's Job ready Graduates Package, which will create will create 100,000 new university places by 2030, and Tuesday night's budget.
"New industries, advanced manufacturing and digital technologies in sectors such as health, agriculture, energy and resources will likely see growth. Federation University is ready to respond, but will do so working closely with employers and government to ensure that skills are matched to the Wimmera's needs," he said.
"Federal and State Governments have committed support for short courses and training. For example, we are addressing the workforce needs of our local communities through our 11 online, subsidised short courses, which will train people in sectors where there is a strong demand for skilled workers.
"A recent study showed that 7 out of 10 students studying in the region stay in the region and this is even higher for TAFE."
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