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Community input sought on key tertiary education priorities

20 August 2014

Community input sought on key tertiary education priorities

A draft action plan has been developed around tertiary education and research needs in the Bay of Plenty including Taupo, with community feedback currently being sought.

The Bay of Plenty Tertiary Action Plan (TAP) is a region wide document that has been developed to provide a collective vision, strategy and desired actions for tertiary education delivery that is closely aligned with local industry and community needs in the wider region. There are a range of matters for consideration.

The first phase of developing the action plan has consisted of undertaking primary research, workshops and interviews with over 150 key stakeholder, industry and community groups, as well as a substantial literature review of existing regional, national and international information. This next phase of work involves gaining input from the wider Bay of Plenty community, and the tertiary education sector, in terms of the current direction and proposed action points in the draft TAP.

Chairman Bill Wasley says from initial engagement and research, key characteristics have been highlighted and a number of matters for the community’s consideration have been developed.

“Key objectives for the region include increasing tertiary education participation and attainment for people within our communities, particularly Māori, developing a highly educated and skilled workforce that is aligned to the needs of employers, and increasing research for sector development and innovation to help support overall economic growth, community and business development.

“From these objectives, a number of specific recommendations have been made that require full regional buy-in and ownership in order to be successful. The purpose of making the draft Tertiary Action Plan public is to gauge whether the wider community feels these matters for consideration are the right ones for our region, as well as giving people the opportunity to voice their own suggestions on how key objectives can be achieved and the nature of research and programme delivery.”

The draft TAP sets out how key objectives can be achieved through tertiary education. It proposes that the region’s tertiary providers, along with government agencies, economic development agencies, spatial planning partnerships, iwi, industry and community groups work in partnership to ensure the region’s current and future education and research priorities are met.

TAP project manager Greg Simmonds says the action plan has been developed for the people and communities of the wider Bay of Plenty.

“Its purpose is to provide collaborative leadership and regional advocacy for community needs that can be addressed through tertiary education.”

A summary draft TAP document is available for public consultation from August 20 – September 19 and is available on the Bay of Connections website, http://www.bayofconnections.com/ under the Sector Strategy tab. The full draft TAP and appendices are also available.

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