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Education Entrepreneur Expands Portfolio

Renowned tertiary education entrepreneur Feroz Ali will expand his New Zealand offerings this month, with the acquisition of Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design.

Asia Pacific Education (APEDU) will acquire a majority stake in the award-winning college, considered to be the country’s leading private arts and design institution. Co-founder Michele Whitecliffe will stay on as President, board director and a shareholder of the company.

The acquisition complements Ali’s purchase of NZ Fashion Tech last August and looks set to inject fresh energy and focus into both the arts and the private tertiary education sectors in New Zealand.

“Whitecliffe College is by far the best acquisition I have made since entering the industry in 1997,” says Ali.

“It’s a great addition to my portfolio as it has an amazing reputation as a degree-granting institution and complements the New Zealand Fashion Tech business well.”

Ali’s portfolio also includes top Canadian tertiary education providers Canadian Tourism College and Sterling College.

“My re-entry into New Zealand this time is more focussed on high quality education offerings and I believe Whitecliffe College, with its offering of postgraduate qualifications, will provide the platform for us to create something really special for New Zealand.”

The acquisition will take place in late March, and exciting plans are already in the pipeline for programme expansion. The possibility of new campuses – including one in Ali’s hometown of Vancouver – is also being explored.

“Whitecliffe College will continue to build on its excellent reputation and look at further advancing its offering in other areas, specifically in the degree-granting space such as ICT.

“New Zealand has a vibrant arts and creative sector, and while my two recent New Zealand acquisitions have focussed on those elements, we will also be looking at expanding our provision in other strategic areas including trades, Northland, and international campuses.”

A Category One provider, Whitecliffe delivers certificates, degrees, postgraduate diplomas and masters level programmes in fine arts, photo media, fashion design, graphic design, arts management and arts therapy. Its tutors, students and graduates are consistently recognised both nationally and globally for their talents, and its Performance Based Research Fund is the highest in the country in comparison to the size of the faculty.

The college has been Michele Whitecliffe’s driving force for the past 35 years. She and her late husband Greg officially opened the school in 1983, preparing students for lifelong creative work and engagement with their communities.

“We lay down the foundations of what has become a serious contender to any public art institute,” she says.

“With pride we are working with Ngati Whatua to insure Te Reo is part of every students’ journey and this is being led by my son, Director Strategic Development, Hayden Whitecliffe. Greg’s ancestors came from Arawa Te Waka and the captain of this waka was Tama Te Kapua who is one of the ancestors of the Ngati Whatua Orakei.”

Whitecliffe says she is delighted to be joining forces with Ali to help take the arts and design institution to the next level.

“I am very excited to be able to share the next stage of growth with Feroz and believe we will make a great team. His investment, leadership and experience ensure a very bright and positive future for Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design.”


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