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Government support secures tertiary education on Coast

The Government’s decision to continue financial support for Tai Poutini Polytechnic (TPP) is great news for the future of tertiary education on the West Coast.

Funding support for the coming year was confirmed today by Education Minister Chris Hipkins www.beehive.govt.nz. It coincides with the release by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) of its investigation into TPP delivery between 2010 and 2015 www.tec.govt.nz.

Funding support allows the institute to keep operating while plans to develop a new model for the delivery of quality, sustainable tertiary education at both a national and regional level are progressed. Chief Executive Alex Cabrera says TPP, as part of a range of improvements made over the past 18 months, is considering new ways of working that take an innovative approach to tertiary education in one of New Zealand’s most isolated regions.

“We know we have to do things differently to secure the future of vocational training on the Coast so we’ve worked closely with the local community, partner organisations and Government to come up with a proposal for the future. Today’s indication of the Minister’s strong focus on how the regions can be better supported by tertiary education is a positive step toward change.”

Crown Manager Murray Strong says TPP’s new management and governance teams are very aware of the financial and strategic challenges they face, along with the serious issues identified in the TEC report, commissioned two years ago and released earlier today.

“While the findings are not a surprise, they remain disappointing. However, we have already taken steps to address many of the issues raised in the report. The appointments of myself and Mr Cabrera in 2016 marked a period of positive change for TPP. Our focus has remained sharp on the need to deliver quality education that gets local people into local jobs.

“We’ve been continually improving our processes, quality and financial performance as we come up with new ways of working. We have already created more robust systems and processes, introduced coordination and moderation improvements and improved stakeholder engagement. We remain conscious that the Polytechnic’s situation is serious and we have a lot of hard work ahead.”

TPP Chair of Council Andrew Robb says TPP remains committed to shaping a better future for tertiary education on the West Coast. Quality is a key priority, he says, along with providing education that makes a contribution to the local economy and is relevant to local industry.

“Times of change are never easy and we’ll only succeed if we remain focused on why we’re here: to meet the needs of Coast students and Coast businesses in way that is financially sustainable. We’ll have to make tough decisions but our focus must remain on meeting these three core values and ensuring we’re ready to deliver for the West Coast,” Mr Robb says.

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