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Whitireia welcomes capital injection

The Council of Whitireia Community Polytechnic and the Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) welcomes the capital injection of up to $15M from the Crown for Whitireia Community Polytechnic announced by the Minister of Education today.
This decision demonstrates the Government’s commitment to strong viable polytechnic training for the Wellington region. The financial support was sought by the Council as part of an ongoing plan to ensure financial viability of Whitireia Community Polytechnic.

Whitireia has experienced significant financial challenges in the last two years largely due to a reduction in international students, driven by a tightening of government immigration policy. Income from international students has provided financial support to Whitireia which has enabled investment into its Porirua campus and Wellington campus providing modern learning facilities for students in a very competitive tertiary education environment.

Whitireia has not received government capital funding since soon after it opened more than thirty years ago.

The Council of Whitireia and WelTec notes the Minister’s intention to consult on the dissolution of the Council and the appointment of a Commissioner. This decision by the Crown does not impact the day-to-day operation of Whitireia and WelTec.

Whitireia is one of the top performing ITPs in New Zealand for course and qualification completions and has the highest category rating for External Evaluation and Review from NZQA.
Whitireia is governed by a joint Council which also includes the Wellington Institute of Technology.

Background Information

• Whitireia and WelTec have invested in high quality learning facilities in recent years from their own financial reserves. Whitireia, as a relatively new polytechnic, has not benefited from a strong asset base as per other ITPs.
• International students have always been an important part of the Whitireia operating model to support domestic provision. Revenue from international students has enabled the development of top-class facilities. A substantial decline in international student numbers since 2015 has seen a fall in revenue which has resulted in financial deficits in 2017 and 2018 and a depletion in cash reserves.
• The Council of Whitireia and WelTec has been working on a change programme to reverse the worsening financial trend facing Whitireia over the past two years. This has included working with the private sector and the Crown on a financial package to ensure ongoing viability and sustainability.
• Whitireia and WelTec are very successful vocational educational providers in the Wellington region with student success measures (course and qualification completions) amongst the best in New Zealand.
• Domestic student numbers in 2018 are strong for both institutions reversing recent trends.
• Whitireia Community Polytechnic opened in 1986 in Porirua and has a long established and close relationship with Ngāti Toa Rangatira and the Pasifika community reflecting the population base of the area.
• Almost 6,200 students studied at Whitireia in 2017 with the majority of students studying at levels 1 to 5. The Whitireia School of Health is particularly highly regarding for its nursing programmes which sees large numbers of students studying nursing each year.
• 90% of graduates were in employment or had enrolled in higher level study soon after completing their studies (2017 data).
• Whitireia has a Category 1 rating from NZQA for External Evaluation and Review.

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