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UCOL offers free study for recession victims

UCOL offers free study for people who lose their jobs during the recession


Government-owned polytechnic UCOL is offering free study during 2009 to people who lose their jobs as a result of the current economic downturn.

Alongside the Retraining offer, UCOL is also offering a ‘Job Guarantee’ to its new students: Anyone who doesn’t find employment in their study area within 13 weeks of successfully completing a UCOL programme started in 2009 can then apply to enrol on another programme without paying further tuition fees in 2010.

Chief Executive Paul McElroy says the two initiatives are in line with UCOL’s commitment to its local communities and to the health of the regional economies UCOL serves.

The UCOL Retraining offer is available to anyone made redundant after 1September this year and covers the normal tuition fees on any of the more than 100 certificates, degrees and diplomas offered at UCOL’s three campuses, in Palmerston North, Wanganui, and the Wairarapa, as well as online during 2009 apart from students association fees and any programme-related costs.

Mr McElroy says the UCOL offer is a carefully considered response to the current economic downturn and fits the National government’s proposed policies to support people who may lose their jobs in the months ahead.

“There is still uncertainty about the impact on the New Zealand job market of the recession and slowdown in the global economy,” he says. “However the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show an unemployment rate of 4.2% - the highest since 2003, with more job losses predicted.

All up, 94,000 people are now unemployed - 16,000 more than a year ago - with a prediction by Westpac economists that unemployment will rise by another 50,000 people by the end of next year,” he says.

“All of this means that many people are anxious about the security of their jobs and their ability to adapt to a changing employment environment.

“They need some certainty about their future especially people in the regions who have relatively limited employment options,” he says.

“If they do lose their jobs, our offer gives them an opportunity to train further or retrain or upskill, at absolute minimum cost. There is also the Job Guarantee that if they can’t then find another job in their chosen study field, they can return to UCOL for more free study.”

Mr McElroy says UCOL has a strong internal network of student advisers and support staff that can provide advice and guidance on study options and subsequent job prospects. “We will also work with external support agencies, such as Career Services and WINZ, to help people made redundant get on the right track to a brighter future.”

He says the Retraining and Job Guarantee initiatives are also in line with UCOL’s commitment to accessible, lifelong education for New Zealanders and to equipping students with the skills and confidence to be job-ready when they graduate.

“UCOL’s view is that an investment in tertiary education provides long term benefits, both financially and personally, to the individual and is the best way to secure future financial freedom.”

Both offers are only available to New Zealand Citizens or those with people with Permanent Residency. For further information on the UCOL Retraining offer and Job Guarantee and the applicable terms and conditions see www.ucol.ac.nz for details or phone 0800 Go UCOL (0800 46 8265) or mailto: enquiry@ucol.ac.nz.

ends

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