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Polytechnics make local history

Polytechnics make local history

Aoraki links with Open Polytechnic to offer business degree study from Timaru

Aoraki Polytechnic and the Wellington-based Open Polytechnic of New Zealand have signed an historic agreement that offers to Aoraki business students a pathway to a business degree without them having to leave home for their studies.

With the strokes of two pens the respective chief executives have presented local business students with an opportunity to reach above the current diploma level to a pinnacle in their academic achievements normally only available to those who have relocated to other centres and institutions after leaving their families, schools and jobs to study in unfamiliar surroundings.

The agreement, signed in Timaru last week, opens the door for degree-based learning from Aoraki Polytechnic that chief executive Kay Nelson says is part of the polytechnic’s strategic goal to ensure that collaborations are in place with a number of institutions to allow South Canterbury, North Otago and Mid Canterbury people to complete the highest-level qualifications without being forced to leave their districts.

The forging of the new relationship between the two institutions builds on an earlier collaboration offering support to Open Polytechnic students studying early childhood education.

Ms Nelson said Aoraki Polytechnic was “absolutely committed” to having strategic partnerships nationally and internationally with well respected institutions and industry.

“We want our learners to progress, and for those who do wish to stay at home and stay in employment then the Open Polytechnic is one ideal partner for us.”

She said Aoraki had been working with the Open Polytechnic for about seven months to achieve the business degree opportunity for local people.

“We want to ensure that Aoraki Polytechnic is a positive place in which our people can fulfil their hopes and dreams. It is thanks to the Open Polytechnic that this is possible.”

Timaru business leaders, many of whom were among the 170 people attending the signing ceremony co-hosted by the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce’s Business After 5 organisation at Aoraki Polytechnic last Wednesday evening, have welcomed the new relationship.

Aoraki Development Trust chief executive Wendy Smith said the business community would benefit from the upskilling of local people in their local environment.

“Aoraki Polytechnic and its staff change lives,” she told guests.

“They create opportunities to ensure that this district provides a wonderful base to live in and do business in.

“From a business perspective it’s really exciting because it allows people to stay in their own homes with their families and have that support during the first period of study and then be able to go on, with that same level of support, to complete a degree.

“Because it is with the Open Polytechnic, they can stagger their study while they work. That’s an important core component nowadays,” Ms Smith said.

Open Polytechnic chief executive Dr Caroline Seelig, who signed the agreement with Ms Nelson, said she was delighted to be working with Aoraki for the benefit of local people.

“This agreement will enable your people to get to degree level while enjoying the wonderful support structure you have here at Aoraki Polytechnic.

“It gives the students the best of both worlds.

“The Open Polytechnic is committed to collaborating with business, industry and other tertiary providers to offer upskilling on a national scale that will best suit their stakeholders,” Dr Seelig said.

“Distance learning gives a wide variety of New Zealanders the chance to upskill themselves regardless of where they live and what demands they may have on their time. Distance learning is particularly valuable for adult learners in the workforce as it gives them the opportunity to study in their own time towards qualifications that will assist them in their current job or for a future job,” she said.

“The Open Polytechnic is very pleased to be working with Aoraki Polytechnic to give their learners access to our nationally and internationally-recognised business degree. By staying in their regions to complete their studies they will also be able to use their new skills to directly benefit the local economy.”

The degree course builds on Aoraki’s current New Zealand Diploma in Business programme. The degree has majors in accounting, human resources, IS&T and management. The accounting major is accredited by the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, and provides a pathway to becoming a chartered accountant.

Aoraki Polytechnic Head of Faculty Lisa Baillie said Aoraki’s involvement meant an articulation between both qualifications and the local institution would offer pastoral care and support while the student distance-studied with the Wellington-based polytechnic.

“Students could generally credit the Diploma in Business qualification to one year of the Bachelor of Business at Open Polytechnic.

“The exact amount of crediting depends on the papers the student takes,” Ms Baillie said.

She welcomed inquiries to Aoraki Polytechnic on 0800 4 AORAKI (0800 426 725)


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