Today’s announcement from Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, signals an important development in redefining New Zealand’s vocational education training sector, and is welcomed by central North Island polytechnic UCOL.
UCOL Chief Executive Dr Amanda Lynn said "It is clear that the Minister has listened to feedback during consultation and we are looking forward to participating in co-design and co-construction opportunities. There are clear timeframes for a staged transition, providing some clarity for our staff and certainty for students.
"UCOL's distinctiveness as a region remains. There are no changes to regional boundaries, our campuses or the UCOL brand. There are many positives, such as the establishment of Te Taumata Aronui a Māori Crown entity as key partners, a focus on expansion of provision rather than retrenchment, enhanced applied research opportunities, and continuation of programmes at certificate through to post graduate level. Reassuringly our students and staff can go about their business of teaching and learning."
The establishment of Centres of Vocational Excellence is progressive, and UCOL looks forward to being a part of a strong national system, focussed on meeting the needs of regional employers and communities.
UCOL is in a solid position both educationally and financially, with a total equity of $108m. "The Minister has also confirmed that existing cash reserves will be ring fenced for investment in the Regions where the investment has been accumulated. That is good news."