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Kiwis flock to ITPNZ as recession bites


16 February 2009
Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics of New Zealand

Kiwis flock to institutes of technology and polytechnics as recession bites

Kiwis are flocking to institutes of technology and polytechnics as the recession bites, according to a survey of ITP New Zealand’s 20 members as at 30 January 2009.

“Enrolments at ITPs are up by 5-10% on the same time last year, as Kiwis invest in their skills. With job growth slowing, ITPs and their students are skilling New Zealand’s recovery. The recession is hitting New Zealand, but ITPs are doing their bit by preparing a more productive workforce,” says Dave Guerin, Executive Director of ITP New Zealand.

“ITPs are best-placed to respond to the new demand though their regional focus, strong community networks and provision of industry-focussed applied professional and vocational education. We can deliver results across the whole country,” he says.

Numbers are up in nursing, teaching, science and many trades. Given the current focus on infrastructure development, it is no surprise that enrolments in Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s digger school are up.

Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, Wellington Institute of Technology, Waiariki Institute of Technology and Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki are currently tracking at above 10% growth. One of the few ITPs to have flat enrolments is Nelson-Marlborough Institute of Technology, but they have high summer employment in tourism and horticulture.

“ITPs have the capacity to meet demand at the start of the year, but class spaces will be very tight as the year goes on. We expected increased enrolments of over 10,000 people this year, but it looks like we might pass that total in the next month or so.”

“We will be talking with our Minister, Hon Anne Tolley, and the TEC about options to meet the growing demand for ITP education. We also look forward to the Jobs Summit, which will provoke fresh thinking about skill development.”

ITPs have been gearing up since late 2008 for an upsurge in enrolments in 2009. Research commissioned by ITP New Zealand from BERL in December 2008 identified that there will up to 76,400 more people unemployed or out of the labour force by March 2011 (75% of them with lower skills). ITPs are ready to contribute to developing those people’s skills so that they renter the workforce with better skills and higher pay.

January enrolments are only indicative and ITP New Zealand will be repeating this survey at the end of February.

ITP New Zealand has identified four groups most affected by the recession.

1. People who have lost their jobs.
2. People who are underemployed e.g. workers in firms working fewer shifts or shorter weeks.
3. School leavers who delay entry into the labour force.
4. Tertiary students choosing to study longer.

ITP New Zealand is the national association for New Zealand’s 20 institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs). Its members provide high-quality, relevant and innovative vocational and applied research and education to some 207,000 New Zealanders every year.


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