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Polytechnic Regional Development Grants announced

Polytechnic Regional Development Fund Grants announced

The Minister for Regional and Industry Development, Jim Anderton and Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education), Steve Maharey today announced the results of the first round of funding under the Polytechnic Regional Development Fund.

Nine proposals involving 10 polytechnics and institutes of technology have been approved in this first round with the total amount allocated being $1,304,189 out of a total budget provision of $2 million.

The fund, which was established as part of the 2002 Budget, is designed to enable and encourage polytechnics to collaborate with local industry and enterprise to develop skills-related initiatives that will support regional economic development.

Some applications stood out, said Jim Anderton. “One application was a joint proposal from the Open Polytechnic, Whitireia (Porirua) and Weltec (Wellington) who were approved funding to support and develop the optics and optical engineering industry.

“Optics is an important industry in the Wellington region that is at risk of disappearing because of the lack of skilled labour. A National Optics cluster has been established to help keep the industry alive and this activity will significantly assist,” said Jim Anderton.

Steve Maharey said the Fund assists polytechnics to make the best possible contribution to their regions, in the context of the regional strategies already developed.

“The money that was not allocated this time will not be lost, but will be available for future rounds. Feedback will be provided to those unsuccessful in this round in a move that will assist polytechnics in satisfying the criteria as they develop proposals for the second round.

“The Fund is an important initiative to realise of the goals of the Tertiary Education Strategy, 2002-2007,” said Mr Maharey.

. . / 2 Other initiatives to receive funding include: Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, $190,000, to provide a comprehensive education and training needs analysis for the seafood industry.

The seafood industry has been identified in the regional economic development plans of both Marlborough and Nelson/Tasman as a significant driver of future growth in employment and wealth in the region. The proposal is supported by the Nelson Seafood Cluster group;
Eastern Institute of Technology (Hawkes Bay), $300,000, to develop an Information Centre which will provide a focal point for the Food Processing Industry in Hawkes Bay and New Zealand. The complex will provide information for industry, overseas investors, tourists, students and members of the public.

Food processing is a key economic driver in the region and is recognised in the Hawkes Bay regional strategy. The proposal builds on the work already being undertaken in the region around food processing and partly funded by Industry New Zealand.

Five million dollars has been allocated to the fund over the period 2002-2005. The maximum grant for any one application is $300,000 (GST inclusive). Industry New Zealand administers the fund and oversaw a two-step process for allocating the grants. Applications were analysed by Industry New Zealand Regional Offices in conjunction with Skill New Zealand Regional Managers and the Ministry of Education’s Tertiary Advisory Monitoring Unit.

All applications were then considered by the Regional Partnerships Programme Assessment Panel which is chaired by Industry New Zealand and includes representatives from the Ministry of Economic Development, Te Puni Kokiri, Skill NZ, and two independent members.

Funding Approvals

The following proposals were approved: Waikato Institute of Technology $24,000 was approved to develop a business case for an E commerce centre.

Eastern Institute of Technology (Hawkes Bay) $300,000 was approved to assist in the development of an Information Centre, where industry, tourists, students and the general public can come to find out what is happening in the food industry in the Hawkes Bay. The initiative will add to the activities funded under the major regional initiative component of the Regional Partnership Programme.

Whitireia (Porirua) $100,000 was approved to assist Whitireia to establish arts and music workshop facilities, to undertake a feasibility study on the development of a virtual reality lab, identify business opportunities in the creative industries and support youth innovation and entrepreneurship projects.

Open Polytechnic, Whitireia, and WELTEC (Wellington) $211,689 was approved to a consortium including the Open Polytechnic, Whitireia Community Polytechnic and Wellington Institute of Technology to support and develop optics and optical science engineering. The project includes researching requirements, development of learning outcomes and assessment of participating institution capabilities.

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology $190,000 was approved to the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology to undertake an education and training needs analysis and develop an education and training curriculum for the seafood industry.

Tai Poutini Polytechnic (West Coast) $115,500 was approved for Tai Poutini Polytechnic for a mining initiative that will assist the development of mining education and training programmes at a centre in Reefton. $210,000 for an eco-tourism initiative that will the support the development of a Centre for Eco-tourism.

Aoraki Polytechnic (Timaru) $47,000 was approved for the Aoraki Polytechnic to create a ‘one stop shop’ for businesses in the South Canterbury region. The centre will provide a broad range of business advice.

Telford Rural Polytechnic (Balclutha) $61,000 was approved to Telford Rural Polytechnic to develop a programme to educate farmers in soil/climate-mapping data to improve land-based outputs.

Otago Polytechnic $55,000 was approved to Otago Polytechnic to assist in the established of business programmes for business involved in tourism in the Waitaki District.

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