LEARNING: John Hession in front of the house that is being converted into a training facility in Goonellabah.
LEARNING: John Hession in front of the house that is being converted into a training facility in Goonellabah. Andy Parks

School on new course

JOHN and Julie Hession are transforming a 100-year-old house in Goonellabah into a training centre.

The pair have been running the Northern Rivers branch of Community Training Australia from their Cawongla home, using training rooms in Lismore, Ballina, Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour.

But earlier this year they purchased a property at 488 Ballina Rd and are in the process of converting the four-bedroom house into an education facility.

A DA is before Lismore City Council to carry out earthworks to create six car parking spaces and to modify the house so it complies with requirements for an education facility.

Community Training Australia has a national headquarters in Townsville and branches throughout Australia.

In the Northern Rivers the company already runs various diplomas in community services and youth work and plans to introduce an early childhood development course.

Since starting the business in March last year, 120 students have enrolled in the courses, and Mr Hession expects that number to grow quickly.

"It's due to the growth we have been experiencing that we have decided to open this facility in Goonellabah, which has good access to public transport," he said.

The couple will continue to run courses in Byron and Coffs, and possibly Ballina, but the majority of their training will soon be run in Goonellabah.

Mr Hession said courses ran by Community Training Australia were generally completed in six to eight months, whereas similar courses at TAFE often ran over two years.

"We are very practically orientated and designed to upskill those who are already in community services careers and also fast-track people who are looking to get into the community sector."


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