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academyEX Ramps Up Support For Māori Learners With Two New Appointments

6 May 2024

(Auckland) Postgraduate education institute academyEX, formerly known as The Mind Lab, has appointed two new Academic Advisors as part of ongoing efforts to support a growing cohort of Māori learners.

Kura Te Ua will ensure the development, integrity and ongoing sustainability of academyEX’s Te Ao Māori strategy; while Lewis Tapene will spearhead ‘Pou Kōkiri’ efforts (aptly translating as a ‘pillar of strength’ or a ‘pillar of support’) in term of providing day-to-day, culturally-aligned support for learners and academyEX employees.

Building cultural confidence via Pou Kōkiri 

“As a people, Māori are at the beginning of a journey towards building cultural confidence in their academic ability. Pou Kōkiri is about teaching students to bring who they are to their studies and breaking down any barriers to being authentically themselves. We’re giving them a voice to help us design academic pathways that are fit for purpose,” says Lewis Tapene.

He adds that when students are confident in their ability and identity, this shows up in their academic confidence and achievements.

Practically, Pou Kōkiri will provide pastoral care and 1:1 support where appropriate. Importantly, the programme will ensure Māori students ‘see themselves’ amongst the academic cohort at academyEx.

“It’s easier to be what you can see; and Pou Kōkiri is an important step forward in our evolution as an institute. The Pou Kōkiri walks alongside our Māori tauira and all of people, to awhi, tautoko and whakamana those in our whare and wānanga, and to develop and nurture their practice,” explain Lewis.

Strengthening academyEX’s Te Ao Māori strategy via Kaihautu Māori 

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“As an institute, academyEx is focused on meeting its responsibilities in line with Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This includes celebrating the mana (unique value and contribution) of our students’ cultural heritage. Kaihautu Māori will guide our people in developing their kaupapa Māori practice, enabling us to serve those in our wānanga (community) while being grounded in our values of Pono, Manaakitanga, Rangatiratanga and Ako. We’re excited to bring this kaupapa to life across academyEX,” comments Kura.

Connection, by design

As a learning environments, academyEX provides a ‘hybrid’ model that allows for distance learning but places every learner in a tailored “community of changemakers and industry shakers” where learners have curious and stimulating conversations about issues that matter deeply to them and, by extension, their communities and whānau.

“As an academy, we’re proud of our diverse mix of learners who are mostly wāhine over 45, Māori and Pasifika and immigrants to New Zealand. Culturally, so many of our students are far more comfortable with a learning approach that is designed to be connective, especially when undertaken remotely. Pou Kōkiri has been designed to further extend the wrap-around services we offer Māori learners in order to give them the best chance of success,” explains Simona Turin, CEO of academyEX.

A proven formula for success

With an 85% completion rate, academyEX provides ‘self-paced’ learning that works for a diverse audience. What’s more, 82% of Masters of Technological Futures students go on to experience a significant ‘step change’ such as a promotion or starting their own business – and 78% reported receiving a pay rise.

Supporting New Zealand to become future ready

academyEx was founded on the premise that none of us should ever stop learning - especially those already in careers. This is now even more important given the current velocity of change. Artificial intelligence, Cloud Computing and other technologies are rapidly changing the future of work.

academyEX has designed a suite of powerful learning in the areas of technological disruption and leadership that are helping to empower a new generation of employees to understand and get ahead of change.

The appointments come off the back of the academy offering ‘Career Change Scholarships’. These take 50% off for successful applicants (for their July onwards intake) for all Masters programmes.

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