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PM Speech: Opening of AUT Business Faculty

11 November 2005

Prime Ministers Speech: Opening of AUT Business Faculty building, Wakefield St, Auckland

This building is student-centred and is designed to integrate theory and business practice.

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Thank you for the invitation to open the new AUT Business Building.

Commissioning this new building was a good opportunity to design for best practice in teaching and learning environments for a business school. This building is student-centred and is designed to integrate theory and business practice.

I understand that the students are able to learn face-to-face, at meeting room style tables, in small classes of twenty to thirty.

The design sets out to mirror the real world of business, emphasising integration and relationships. It should promote both better learning and good teaching.

I'm told that the new building provides under-graduate students with a standard and type of educational resources which even top international schools can only offer to their post-graduates. That certainly makes the facilities provided here world class.

As Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, I congratulate the architects, Jasmax, on the building's design. It represents a woven basket prised apart to reveal the learning spaces within. It has also been designed to feel and look more like a corporate tower than a traditional university building.

I'm pleased to see our new buildings in the public sector leading the way in architecture and design. Indeed AUT's own Art and Design building, which I opened in June this year, won a national New Zealand Institute of Architecture award.

AUT's interest in art, design, and creativity is also reflected inside this Business Building, with the display of works of art from James Wallace's collection, and with the carpet designed by AUT student Christina Taki.

AUT's business school is one of New Zealand's largest providers of business education. Through its Co-operative Education and International Exchange programmes, it has built strong relationships offshore.

Last year, 86 AUT Bachelor of Business students were placed in businesses in 24 countries for work experience during their final year of study. And, through the Business Faculty's established partnerships with international business schools, it hosts around 70 students on exchange here each year.

With more than 5000 students studying business on this campus, AUT must balance quality and relevance with the need to be innovative and to keep pace with international education trends and demand.

The fact that 93 per cent of AUT business graduates are employed within six months of graduation, and that 85 per cent of its Batchelor of Business students complete their degree, shows that learners are getting worthwhile education here, and that the New Zealand taxpayer is getting a good return on its investment.

As you know, the government has been concerned about the quality of courses in parts of the tertiary sector. A number of steps have already been taken to stop spending on courses of dubious value.

The Speech from the Throne, delivered on Tuesday by the Governor-General, emphasised the government's determination to get better value for money from our substantial tertiary spend.

While the general standard of tertiary education in New Zealand is high, some high profile examples have demonstrated that a system which places too great a concentration on increasing participation can lead to poorly designed courses and misuse of public money. The changes we are making to prevent such outcomes will require significant adjustments in parts of the tertiary sector, but the overall result will be beneficial to those who do provide courses of quality.

It is now my pleasure to declare the new AUT Business Building officially open.

ENDS

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