AFTER unofficially opening its doors only two months ago, Cooktown’s new university centre is already smashing target numbers, with more than 23 students using the facility to network and study.
The Country Universities Centre Cape York was opened in late April, and was last week officially opened by Assistant Education Minister Anthony Chisholm and Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch.
Mr Entsch said he had been advocating for a university hub in Cooktown for years, but the centre had already far outstripped what he had envisioned.
“What has happened there is quite amazing,” Mr Entsch told Cape York Weekly.
“It’s much more than what I envisioned when I first started lobbying for it a number of years ago.”
Mr Entsch said special mention needed to be made for Cook Shire Council’s community, economy and innovation director Lawrence Booth, who was instrumental in making the dream into a reality.
“Lawrence really was the one who picked up the idea that (mayor) Peter Scott and I had, and ran with it,” Mr Entsch said.
“It’s going to be an outstanding success and quite frankly it’s bloody exciting to see the opportunities that it has already opened up for people in Cooktown and surrounding communities.”
Mr Entsch said the centre encouraged people of all ages who wanted to study, providing a space for those who couldn’t study at home and allowed people to study in their own community.
“The centre makes it so much easier and more conducive to students being successful and also gives them the opportunity to talk to like-minded individuals and offers that real sense of additional support that can be lacking when studying remotely on your own,” he said.
Centre manager Jenni James said the centre had an initial target of around 40 students enrolled in the first year, and was already up to 24 enrolled.
“We are growing by the day and are now looking to work with stakeholders at how we can best provide opportunities for Hope Vale residents and other areas throughout the Cape,” Ms James said.
The centre offers dedicated study and networking spaces, a training room, as well as advice and support to help bridge the gap between remote and urban education.