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Innovation and sustainability meet at the Robina campus

TAFE Queensland's new Robina campus boasts sustainability features including a rainwater-fed automated irrigation system and sensor activated lighting.

It's the first Vocational Education and Training (VET) campus in Australia designed from the ground up to be sustainable in building, fit-out, procurement, curriculum, operations and culture.

The building has five levels of flexible multi-purpose training spaces, teaching rooms, student areas, break out zones as well as live training facilities including a restaurant, café, hair and beauty salons, fitness centre and event venue.

TAFE Queensland’s General Manager on the Gold Coast, Karen Dickinson said the building's modern design and construction practices meet sustainability ambitions and reduce greenhouse emissions.

“We designed the base building to a National Australian Built Environment 5-star rating standard with 250 solar panels providing renewable energy for the campus and maximised use of performance solar glass,” she said.

“We have also used recycled materials and ecological finishes throughout and have installed sensor activated lighting and LED task lighting.”

Each year more than 2,000 students will study commercial cookery, hospitality, events, hair and beauty, barbering, sport and fitness, early childhood education and care, and English Language studies in the new campus.

Ms Dickinson said courses delivered at the campus will not only skill the future workforce of the region but ultimately prepare students to be global citizens.

“Each course curriculum will foster environmental awareness in a way that links to everyday activities and ties in with the operational requirements of the campus,” she said.

“Course content aims to change the behaviours of students through demonstrating the importance of moving towards a more sustainable society.”

Ms Dickinson said TAFE Queensland is about developing people, not just skills.

“We must prepare students for life, not just exams and the ambition of the Robina campus is about developing global citizens who will go on and make the world we live in a better and more sustainable place,” she said.

“It is not enough for education to produce individuals with relevant industry skills and knowledge — it must be transformative and bring shared values to life and cultivate an active care for the world and for those with whom we share it.”

The campus will be an integral part of the Robina community with the public invited to use the campus café, restaurant, hair and beauty salons, fitness centre and event venue which are all run by students and their teachers.

“Students will learn and practise their skills in real-world settings through onsite businesses which also double as live training facilities” said Ms Dickinson.

“These venues and services will be open to the public, giving them access to affordable treatments and services.”

TAFE Queensland’s commitment to sustainably was recently recognised globally with the Robina campus being awarded silver (2nd place) in the Construction category at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics 2022 Awards of Excellence.

Work first began on the campus site in 2020 and in July 2022, TAFE Queensland welcomed staff and students onto the campus for the first time.

The first cohort will graduate in 2023 with not only their qualification, but knowledge and commitment to sustainability.