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WelTec's Centre for Smart for Product Launched

MEDIA RELEASE

1 June 2006

WelTec’s Centre for Smart for Product Launched

Wellington Institute of Technology’s (WelTec) Centre for Smart Product was officially launched last night by the Minister for Tertiary Education, the Hon. Dr Michael Cullen, who applauded the initiative.

WelTec Centre for Smart Product Director Paul Mather says that the Centre is an initiative to assist New Zealand companies that design, make and sell innovative products internationally, while providing unparalleled learning opportunities for WelTec students.

“We’ve been in development mode for about 18 months, working on some initial projects and building a 3D Visualisation and Replication facility,” says Paul. So now we can launch ourselves as a fully functioning centre with joint benefits for students, industry and New Zealand’s economy.

“The Centre is already helping regional businesses become learning organisations and world competitive exporters by making the most of technology; research and development; and improved productivity,” says Paul.

“By working with industry in this way the Centre creates an innovative learning environment, ensuring that WelTec is building future-proofed skills for its students and staff.“

As well as engineering and technology students, students on WelTec’s New Venture Development and Product Design and Development programmes have access to the Centre for Smart Product facilities to further develop their ideas and projects.

Dr Cullen says that initiatives such as the Centre for Smart Product provide an immediate way of assessing quality and relevance in education. “By merging the teaching of the relevant discipline with its real life application in businesses which need, at the end of the day, to apply a strict commercial ruler to what goes on,” says Dr Cullen. “The learning that goes on in this context is arguably a much more complete preparation for students seeking to pursue a career in their chosen field.”

Ian Fitzgerald, Chairperson of innovative outdoor clothing manufacturer Norsewear, says that the company has involved WelTec students and the Centre for Smart Product in a number of projects. “Projects that students have worked on with us have been very valuable learning for the students as well as adding value to our company that we would otherwise not have been achieve.”

The Centre received seed funding from the Tertiary Education Commission’s Innovation and Development Fund. The Fund was established to support innovation in tertiary education.

ENDS

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