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WelTec Approach Endorsed in New Policy Direction

4 April 2006

WelTec Approach Endorsed in New Policy Direction

Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) Council Chairperson Denford McDonald says Government’s new policy direction for tertiary education, announced today, is an endorsement of WelTec’s strategic focus on trade and technology training and its commitment to partnership with regional economic interests.

However, he has warned that there is a great deal of detail yet to be decided to ensure that the new system actually delivers a long term sustainable base that will allow WelTec to continue to develop its role as a key driver of the economic and skills base of the greater Wellington region.

“It is vital that business, industry and local government in the region also get stuck in and contribute to the consultation and policy development process that will take place over the next couple of months,” says Mr McDonald.

Mr McDonald says there was much in this policy outline that WelTec welcomes. “We welcome the new focus on what institutions deliver rather then just on student numbers; the support for specialisation and differentiation within the sector; as well as the long term funding stability and the acknowledgement that polytechnics were key regional economic agents.”

However, there were also some major issues that have yet to be defined in working detail. These include the specific roles of various players in industry training, including polytechnics, private providers and Industry Training Organisations

“This area is badly structured at present,” says Mr McDonald. “And funding has not reflected the true costs of quality work skills training.”

Other issues include the cost differentials between institutions that arise from training focus, infrastructure and location; and the impacts of capital and structural factors, often inherited from earlier policy frameworks and decisions.

Mr McDonald says WelTec has a very clear vision of its role within the tertiary sector and within the Wellington region. It is a centre of excellence for trade and technology training, working in close and dynamic partnership with regional interests.

“We have a very clear view of the most appropriate structures to assist us in achieving this objective and will be putting our case to Government,” say Mr McDonald.

“The broad outline announced today is a good start. But there is a great deal of hard, detailed work yet to be done. We look forward to working with the Government and other key stakeholders to ensure sustainability for WelTec, the sector and the New Zealand economy in the future.”

ENDS

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