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Ground-breaking year expected for Tai Poutini

December 16, 2004

Ground-breaking year expected for Tai Poutini after a record 2004

New Zealand’s most isolated tertiary institution – Tai Poutini Polytechnic in Greymouth, heads into 2005 with some major ground-breaking projects after a record year in 2004.

Tai Poutini arguably becomes the first polytechnic or tertiary institution in New Zealand next year to offer zero fees from its own resources.

The West Coast polytech expects to reduce the cost barrier and increase participation for West Coast students by offering zero fees.

``We are committed to our region to benefit the local community. The Coast is a great place to live and study, with small classes, individual attention and great tutors,’’ chief executive Don Campbell said.

Tai Poutini are looking at buying a big-truck simulator next year which would play a substantial role in boosting the standard of the New Zealand mining industry.

The big truck simulator would be used by their truck and digger school. There are no simulators in New Zealand and it could provide significant first-mover advantages.

``We are already helping reduce the country’s level of unemployment with our big machine course truck and digger school,’’ Mr Campbell said. ``We had people who had been on the dole for six or seven years who joined the course, learned skills to drive machines and are now working for business earning good money,’’ Campbell said.

Tai Poutini is looking at training oil riggers in 2005 as there is such a serious shortages of trained riggers in Taranaki.

This would be a partnership with the oil rig industry, Tai Poutini and Taranaki Polytechnics.

While in the outdoors, Tai Poutini are the sole provider of trained scaffolders in New Zealand and is the biggest trainer of search and rescuers. Over the past five years more than 1200 students have graduated as scaffolders. The polytech has hundreds of Auckland students, many of who have been through the scaffolding course, only to return as graduate scaffolders to help shape Auckland's high rise.

Tai Poutini Polytechnic is the only polytech of its kind in New Zealand which also runs a search and rescue course, with the backing of Search and Rescue New Zealand.

A total of 148 students went through the course this year and more than 1200 graduate rescuers have been trained at Tai Poutini.

``This is the biggest search and rescue graduate course in New Zealand and we believe we can make a difference,’’ Mr Campbell said.

``Search and rescue is a critical service to helping find and rescue lost trampers, mountaineers and other members of the public,’’ Mr Campbell said.

On the doorstep of the Southern Alps, the polytech is one of the fastest growing tertiary institution in New Zealand.

In 2003 Tai Poutini trebled its surplus to $2.5 million on an income base of $16 million. They reduced the average costs per EFTS from $9326 four years ago to $6389 in 2003. This year’s EFTS numbers will top 3000 with a surplus similar to last year’s expected. So it was hardly a surprise that Tai Poutini was recognised in the Deloitte national Fast 50 awards. Coming in at 41st on the list for the first time, the award acknowledged spectacular achievements in 2003. Tai Poutini was the only polytechnic in New Zealand in the top 50. Tai Poutini will play a pivotal support role next year in the 10th commemoration anniversary of the Cave Creek tragedy next April. Thirteen Tai Poutini students died on April 28 1995 when a platform collapsed in the Paparoa national park.

Meanwhile, Tai Poutini Polytechnic also joins forces with Aranui High School in Christchurch next year to help each other in music.

Twenty Tai Poutini live sound students will be based at Aranui’s new Performance Arts Centre from next February.

The live sound course trains people for the music industry to run live performance gigs and operate sound systems, lighting and staging.


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