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School plan confirmed for WITT

The WITT leadership refresh announced by the Institute last month will go ahead.

But the initial plan, which included creating five schools, moving the WITT owned NZIHT to its Bell St campus and employing two deputy chief executives, has been tweaked.

Chief Executive John Snook said in response to the 20 submissions from staff, four instead of five schools would be established, and a single deputy role created.

“The feedback was refreshing, positive and challenging,” he said. “It encouraged us to review some aspects of the refresh.

“It illustrates the value of setting a course of direction and asking the people who will be on the journey what they think, and what they think could be done better.”

The new structure will be in place by September and advertising for new roles will begin next week. The process will not involve redundancies or job losses.

A key motivating factor behind the refresh is that the tertiary education sector is facing a significant overhaul, supported by WITT and the region’s mayoral forum, and led by Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

“These changes are deliberately proactive and will position us to ensure our delivery in the new environment is at optimum level for our students and the Taranaki region,” Mr Snook said.

Most submissions related to the intention to move the New Zealand Institute of Highway Technology (NZIHT) offices in Young St, New Plymouth, to the WITT campus. The move will go ahead in early August.

“It is important to be transparent and acknowledge part of the intent here is to free up an asset we own. Whether we lease or sell the building will be a decision for the WITT council,” Mr Snook said.

“It makes sense to move the NZIHT team to Bell St where we have our learners and associated support such as business development, international management and administration.”

NZIHT will maintain its high profile in Hamilton, where its offices in Victoria St are
being revamped.

“Moving the New Plymouth offices to the WITT campus will in no way compromise the NZIHT brand, which is respected internationally,” Mr Snook said.

The submissions influenced the decision to create four instead of five schools at WITT. They will be School Māori Enterprise, Business & Technology, School Nursing, Health & Wellness, School Trade Training, Primary & Creative Industries and School Engineering, Energy & Infrastructure.

The roles of the proposed School of English, Foundation Education and Pathways will be amalgamated into one of the other four schools.

Each school will have its own location on campus and reception areas and directors of each school will be charged with negotiating their own budget and designing their own business, while being held accountable by the Chief Executive.

Mr Snook said the schools will improve outcomes for Māori and Pasifika students, link to schools and industry and have a full range of learners.

Māori provision is strengthened, with all Schools having a focus on Māori learner success and all having an area of Māori vocational training.

The other significant departure from the draft plan is that WITT will operate with one deputy chief executive and continue with an Academic Director.

“It was submitted we were creating roles where expectations were too great, and that WITT did not need two deputy chief executives,” Mr Snook said.

“I’m encouraged to know we have the support of staff to introduce these changes – they will ultimately benefit our students and employers.”

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