I drafted this several weeks ago to release on April First; however, for some reason, nobody was very keen on posting it as an official press release at work. But here it is as an exclusive on edgeofsomewhere:
Today TAFE NSW announces a major rebranding and refocus of its educational mandate. TAFE NSW Director of External Communications, Angelo Moriondo, says that TAFE acknowledges the changing landscape of education in the 21st Century. "We've examined growth industries across the state and country as a whole. We're looking at the places where almost everyone in Australia interacts and the businesses they encounter everyday." With that in mind, TAFE NSW will expand its reach with a new concept in education, TAFé. Moriondo continues, "We aren't dropping any of our current courses, instead, we are revitilising several of them with a coffee themed curriculum that, we hope, will draw in a new generation of students. In fact, we plan to reach out into demographics we don't traditionally cater to with new satellite campuses in several urban neighbourhoods."
The first new campus will open September 2013 on Crown Street in Surry Hills; it's an experimental concept campus housed entirely in a swish café (or TAFé, to use the new terminology). "The current trends in technology encourage distance learning and online collaboration; our field research noted scores of people wandering around Surry Hills with powerful laptop computers and seemingly little use for them other than checking Facebook and fashion weblogs. They aimlessly roam from café to café drinking coffee all day. That's a potential student population who we can help educate and give some purpose in their lives; they can use that time in a TAFé to build skills and develop into productive members of society." TAFé 'campuses' will be wholly staffed by specially trained students and teachers equipped to speak fluent Hipster and function in that environment. "It's already acknowledged that TAFE educates tens of thousands of Australians at a high level every year; however, we are leaving out a whole segment of society that need practical skills beyond the ability to find someplace with Wi-Fi."
The TAFé concept was developed in conjunction with Brothers, Sons and Oswald, the American firm behind last year's highly successful Megamucil brand launch. Pierre Laxitif, branding manager for Brothers, Sons and Oswald explains, "When Metamucil realised their product image was limited in scope, we considered that their traditional demographic was much less sedentary than thirty years ago. At the same time, brands like Mother and Red Bull were mostly marketed towards youth. So we developed Megamucil, a highly caffeinated, high fiber drink targeted to the Boomer generation. So far, 'Megamucil, You'd Better Run' has been our most successful campaign. Likewise, TAFE has traditionally missed out on the I'm wearing a trendy t-shirt with tiny coffee in hand market and we think the TAFé concept will help draw them in." TAFé will offer themed beverages that pay homage to past great shifts in education such as the Frothed Whitlam in honour of the former Prime Minister's efforts to make higher education accessable to all Australians. "We'll offer a free round of Whitlam's every day for whomever is in the room at the moment, but they'll gradually increase in price after that. We've got the very strong long black Midnight Oil as well and, of course, the Piccoli."
Normally a major rebranding comes at significant cost, however TAFE NSW was able to strike a deal with a Czech company also in the midst of rebadging. Angelo Moriondo explains, "They are dropping a couple letters out of their name and, because of this, will have a significant amount of surplus accent marks. It's really beneficial for us as, with the current round of budget cuts, we can barely afford to hire permanent staff, let alone purchase a bunch of apostrophe things. All we'll need to do is go out and affix these to our current signage and we'll just have everyone use a pen on their business cards and stationery. They also had a bunch of háčeks which we could have used as well but we figured that nobody would be able to pronounce TAFě."
Theresa Rasputin, spokesperson for the Government Office of Rebranding and Door Signage voiced support for the change, "We are eager to see TAFé innovating with the changing face of education. We are especially keen to see students gaining the skills needed to work in café environments as we feel that will probably be a necessary step for many of them as we restructure funding for higher education."
Surry Hills Hipster, Johann Strauss-Strauss seemed eager to give TAFé a try, "I did a double major in Art and English Lit. in uni then went on to do postgraduate work in Anthroposophy. If I could learn something useful at TAFé, I'd be willing to give it a go." Strauss-Strauss went on to enquire whether TAFé would do it's own roasting and whether the beans would be organic.
Also, TAFé will simultaneously release an Android and iOS app as well as a special Gestetner machine for every TAFé campus. This will allow teachers (or Baristeachers as they will be known) to distribute assignments in the most advanced--or excessivly retro way possible. Students (or 'denizens') will, in turn, submit work via a wiki or typed out on manual typewriter.