UNE, Guyra Shire Council sign agreement for mutual benefit

Published 15 June 2009

mouGuyra Shire Council has entered into a formal agreement with the University of New England that will have employment and training benefits for the Shire, and enhance the regional impact of UNE’s teaching and research.

The Guyra Mayor, Councillor Hans Hietbrink, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last week with the University’s Chief Development Officer, Mr Chris Patton. The MOU will facilitate the provision of consultancy work and staff development training by the University to the Council. As the first general agreement of its kind between UNE and a local government authority, it will establish a model for similar agreements in the future – particularly within the  Strategic Alliance of Guyra, Uralla, and Armidale Dumaresq Councils.

“It’s an opportunity, across the whole of the Alliance, to enter into a more formal relationship with the University,” Councillor Hietbrink said. “The sort of consultancy work that councils require from time to time – in the area of environmental impact, for example – is often suited to an academic or a research student. And UNE is well placed to provide professional development – including postgraduate studies – for council staff.”

Mr Patton said the MOU represented “a great opportunity for UNE to engage with local councils to support our regional workforce and community”.

“We are delighted to be taking this initiative with Guyra Shire Council, and we value the Council’s forward thinking in regard to its staff development,” he said. “This MOU reflects our commitment to enhancing the skills of the region’s workforce, and emphasises UNE’s unique ability to help people reach their educational goals ‘on their own terms’.”

Mr David Cushway, the General Manager of Guyra Shire Council, said the Council had welcomed UNE’s suggestion about formalising the relationship. “UNE is a great asset to the local community – particularly because of its regional focus in developments such as the School of Rural Medicine,” he said. “The relationship will have mutual benefits in educating the region’s workforce in – and for – the region.”

The image displayed here expands to show Mr Patton and Councillor Hietbrink signing the MOU.