New Bella Vista college campus of great benefit

When Bedford College graduate Jade Schofield set eyes on its new campus at Norwest Business Park her reaction was: "Can I do my diploma again?"

The non-profit business and childcare education provider has offered diplomas at its Glebe campus for 70 years and will enrol up to 160 students at the new campus in Bella Vista this year.

Miss Schofield, a Baulkham Hills resident, was offered places at two universities after completing a Diploma of Childcare at the college in 2011.

She studies an education degree at The University of Notre Dame and works casually at local childcare centres.

"I don't think I would have been ready to go straight from high school to uni, so I found this to be a good stepping stone," she said.

"In childcare we did over 420 hours of prac. It really prepares you for the industry."

Georgia Cox, 19, will begin a justice studies degree at Charles Sturt University in March after completing a Diploma of Business at the college in 2013.

"It was really interesting and fun," she said.

"Everyone was really supportive and you could talk to the trainers whenever you wanted to which was really good. I used my half-yearly transcript to get in to uni."

Principal Christina Scaife said the college board chose to establish a second campus in Bella Vista after the research firm they hired to consider sites found the suburb was the fastest growing residential area in Sydney.

"I knew there was a need and we did a lot of research," she said.

"Our students work one day a week in a centre, whether it be business or childcare.

"There are heaps of businesses and child care centres out here, so it just seemed to be a niche that needed to be filled."

The new campus is also close to the Norwest Rail Link's Norwest station, which is due for completion in 2019.

"Careers advisors from some of the [local] schools had asked us would we ever consider opening a campus here because Hills people have never had trains. To get to the city from the Hills has always been the Hillsbus down the M2 which is a nightmare," she said.

"Students can get a bus along Windsor Road that goes to Parramatta and they've only got to walk one block. It couldn't be more convenient."

Open Day success

The campus was officially opened by Hills mayor Michelle Byrne at the College's open day held on January 18. The event gave potential students an opportunity to view the new campus and find out more about the courses offered there.

Course delivery includes three days of face-to-face class time, one day of online study and one day of practical work experience. Up to 80 per cent of course fees are covered by VET fee help, a student loan scheme that is part of the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP).

Classes begin on February 3.

Details: 1300 174 174, bedford.edu.au

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