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Tertiary Funding Changes Welcomed

5 April 2006

Tertiary Funding Changes Welcomed

The Forest Industry Contractors Association has welcomed the reforms to tertiary funding announced yesterday by Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen.

Chief Executive John Stulen applauded the change in tertiary funding, allowing regional polytechnics to once again offer courses in the national interest, such as forestry.

With the current falling dollar, the export based forestry industry is expected to strengthen again, creating demand for more skilled labour.

The reforms will see the government moving towards results-based funding as opposed to the current ‘bums-on-seats’ approach, which sees tertiary education providers receiving the majority of their funding in accordance with the number of enrolments they attract. The new policy will allocate funding to providers based on the results that these courses produce, such as student completion and employment rates of graduates.

Previously, the bulk funding approach meant that forestry education courses were driven out of polytechnics as they strived to offer more profitable courses, resulting in a skill shortage within the industry.

“As the forestry industry moves towards high-value, further processed products, there will be an increase in demand for skilled workers within the industry. The changes to tertiary funding will mean that forestry education courses will be recognised as being of growing value to the national interest”.

ENDS

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