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Anderton celebrates with Graduates of RADI Centre

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

Progressive Leader

8th May 2006 Media Statement

Anderton celebrates with Graduates of RADI Centre in Rotorua

Jim Anderton returned to the RADI Centre in Rotorua today to celebrate the inaugural graduation ceremony for the first diploma students after launching the centre three years ago as Minister of Economic, Regional and Industry Development.

"The new approach, as I said when I launched this centre three years ago, is to invest in a partnership. And this centre is a symbol of partnership and success. The aim of the Radi Centre’s is to develop technical expertise and research capabilities to equip students with the skills both they need and the industry need. This will increase productivity and transform the wood processing and manufacturing industry.

"This centre is a central symbol of the shift from the sector's commodity orientation to one of high value-demand led orientation. The Government provided a two million dollar grant to get it going as a Major Regional Initiative. The forestry industry kicked in its share, with a $600,000 contribution. The Forestry ITO FITEC, the Waiariki Institute of Technology and the University of Auckland are all involved as is the Waiariki Institute of Technology and the Tertiary Education Commission. There is an agreement in principle to work with Canterbury University, too. Canterbury is interested in using wood in engineering and construction techniques and their participation in the Centre will allow the RADI Centre to expand its range of teaching programmes, possibly including initiatives in wood design. So this could mean a network of forestry and wood processing education and training throughout New Zealand," Jim Anderton said.

"These are just a few examples of partnership. The RADI Centre has partnerships that extend outside New Zealand, too: in Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, and the USA. So far these have provided international lecturers, curricula, learning materials and industry experts. There are likely to be student exchanges in the future and lengthier faculty exchanges. We need to have global networks if we are going to access the world's best ideas and respond to global demand.

"The first intakes of students into the Bachelor degree are now in the last year of their four-year course. These students are high achieving school leavers who will eventually seek work in the wood industry. The skills they develop will be valuable for the students, for the region and for the industry. Anyone who wants to see more jobs, higher incomes and a thriving industry here should study this centre closely.

ENDS

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