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Our performance

2020 update


New Programmes Developed

A number of new programmes have been created in 2020, all of which have been approved for launch by NZQA. This has included two new degree programmes, the Bachelor of Applied Science (Laboratory Science) and the Bachelor of Social Services.

Taratahi Reopens

The long wait has ended for training to recommence at the Taratahi Agriculture Training Centre south of Masterton. UCOL Wairarapa and the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) are working together to provide the training, along with key Wairarapa agricultural representatives, Ngāti Kahungunu and Rangitāne. Courses being offered here include agricultural contracting, fencing, shearing, dairy, and apiculture (beekeeping).

Expanding Blended Delivery Approach

As UCOL looks to the future, especially after the events of lockdown, our blended delivery initiative has been a key focus for our Teaching and Learning Strategy. Blended delivery will enable programmes to be offered with a mix of on campus (face-to-face), on job (work placement), and online learning. Over the next two years more and more programmes will be taking a blended approach to delivery. Developments this year mean that both the Graduate Diploma in Project Management and the Graduate Diploma in Operations and Production Management will be offered this way in 2021.


2019 update


Annual Report

Our 2019 Annual Report details UCOL’s successes and financial performance. 

NZQA Programme Assessments

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) is responsible for independently reviewing the qualifications that are offered in New Zealand by institutes of technology and polytechnics.

As a part of their very robust process, NZQA conduct consistency reviews, which involves randomly sampling a number of our programmes, and reviewing how well they meet the learning objectives set at a national level. For 2019, the 26 programmes that were reviewed all met and exceeded NZQA’s expectations.

Their feedback stated that we had one of the highest standards of quality that they had seen in the sector for New Zealand Level 1 – 6 qualifications.

This result was not a surprise but was an excellent result to receive. This ensures that our programmes meet the high national standards, provide students with the skills and knowledge they need, and gives local employers work-ready graduates.

PBRF Submission Success

UCOL researchers were delighted with the news their first ever submission to the government’s Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) was successful. Thirteen UCOL staff who submitted a research proposal received a positive response, an outstanding result, especially for an institute’s first application. This will providing the institution with more than $1.1 million in funding, spread over the next six years.

Establishing Formal Relationships & Agreements

This year we formalised our relationship with Te Rūnanga o Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa. This goes beyond the Crown-iwi relationship and is one of both friendship and partnership with a shared vision for the development of people. The aim is to encourage new growth and development opportunities in educational, economic, cultural, social and environmental areas for whānau living in the region.

We’ve also developed new agreements with Saigon Institute of Technology, the New Zealand Defence College (NZDF), the Urban Vocational College of Sichuan, Heytour Group Holding, Manawatū Rugby, and the Homecare Association of New Zealand.


November 2018 update


Graduates Recommend UCOL Qualifications

An outstanding 87% of UCOL graduates would recommend their recently completed UCOL qualifications to others.   This is 4% higher than the results for the tertiary sector. 

UCOL's overall satisfaction results are 2% higher than the tertiary sector results, at 95%.  89% of UCOL graduate respondents say the qualification has prepared them for work, 3% higher than the sector.

These positive results have been published by the Tertiary Education Commission's RateMyQual survey responses.  The survey www.myq.co.nz collates graduate experiences and feedback to share with future learners to inform their study decisions.

Dr Jerry Shearman, Executive Director Education and Applied Research at UCOL said the results are overwhelmingly positive, and provide a good benchmark.  "The results are a testament to the quality education provided by UCOL from a customer perspective.  This is a new survey, and gives prospective learners considering study another source of information to help make decisions about tertiary education.  Hearing the views of recent graduates is valuable.  The results endorse that UCOL is a great place to study, with real results and worthwhile benefits."  


September 2017 update


International Student Barometer survey
International students have rated UCOL highly in a recent survey, partially funded by Education New Zealand and participated in by all New Zealand institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs). 

  • Small class sizes influenced favourable scores given to learning (93%) 
  • UCOL's standard of teaching staff are well thought of, many of whom are industry experts
  • Accommodation and living costs in Whanganui and Palmerston North (where all of our international students study) are relatively low compared with other New Zealand locations
  • Some students would have liked more of a city life experience with more social activities and good transport links

Tertiary Education Comission review

The Tertiary Education Comission has reviewed UCOL's educational performance. In many areas UCOL is doing well or above average as follows:

  • First year retention rate - 77% (sector average is 63%) and overall ranked 1 of 16
  • Cohort based qualification completion rate - 63% (well above the sector average of 55%) and overall ranking of 2 of 16
  • Course completion rate - EFTS weighted course completions are at sector average of 78%
  • Progression rate to higher level study are at the sector average of 36%. For those starting at Level 1 the progression rate is 71% (sector average is 49%).

July 2017 update


NZQA review

A four yearly review by NZQA demonstrates that communities can continue to have confidence in UCOL as a high quality tertiary education provider.  The review, which was conducted by a panel appointed by NZQA, has no concerns and contributed positive feedback for continued and improving performance of the polytechnic. 

The NZQA External Evaluation and Review (EER) is carried out every four years by an appointed team of professional evaluators with tertiary education sector experience.   

Examples of improvements made by UCOL over the last four years include the timely introduction of new programmes and initiatives in collaboration with others, as well as a proactive approach to maintaining relevant programmes.  UCOL introduced 26 new qualifications in 2016, for example apiculture, which supports the Region’s economic growth and Accelerate25 initiatives.

Credible, long term focused initiatives include investing in teaching staff, providing them with training and support for a relationship based teaching and learning approach that improves student achievement.  UCOL is the first tertiary education organisation in New Zealand to formally employ this approach, called Te Atakura.

The report acknowledges continuous improvement in student success, relationships with external stakeholders, outcomes for graduates, and a strong, professional staff. 

The evaluation report states that “UCOL can demonstrate a credible and connected sequence of actions and improvements”.  UCOL Chief Executive Leeza Boyce said “It is evident that UCOL has worked hard to improve consistency of practices and educational outcomes across all campuses.  The EER report is informative and will be used, along with other guiding documents, to further shape UCOL’s future.  We accept the report and will take up the recommendations made.   We are on a clear trajectory, taking positive steps and a genuine approach to improving our organisational performance.  We are a high performing tertiary institute and want to continue to improve for the benefit of our students and communities”.  

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