As national changes to vocational education come into effect on 1 April 2020, UCOL becomes UCOL Limited. UCOL Limited, a subsidiary of the new national entity, New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (working title), is taking the change in its’ stride, continuing to prioritise learners and their wellbeing during the COVID-19 level 4 period.
UCOL Chief of Operations Lyal French-Wright said “There is no change to what we do now. We have a new governing Board, Chaired by Steve Maharey, which meets on Friday, 3 April to go through legislative requirements. UCOL staff are focussed on actioning a response plan to enable our students to continue learning during the level 4 stay at home period. We have maintained the standard holiday break, and where courses are ready to deliver in a blended or online way, teaching is continuing. In programmes where this isn’t possible yet, staff are working tirelessly with the aim to have all of our programmes ready for our students by April 28th. Our teachers and support staff are in contact with all our students, checking in on them and addressing any areas of hardship or concern.”
There has been an unprecedented response from across the tertiary sector - polytechs, universities, private training providers, and Industry Training Organisations - with organisations sharing resources, offering help, and really leaning in on each other. “This is our priority, and keeping our students engaged and connected with their studies and UCOL.”
“We expect that as the new national body gets underway with their first Board meeting on 1 April, there will be more information coming through about what they require. Already UCOL representatives have been involved in specialist groups to discuss academic, finance, marketing, international students and the like. UCOL continues to be in good heart, performing well and focussing on our students. We are looking forward to a national collaborative approach to vocational education that brings all Polytechnics and Industry Training Organisations across New Zealand closer together” said Lyal.