Tue 26 May 2015

Asian education agents visit WITT

Five overseas education agents were recently at WITT and they liked what they saw.

WITT's International Relationship Manager of Student Liaison Carol Allen recently attended an agent workshop in Auckland, at which agents from around the world attend to meet representatives from education institutions such as WITT, Carol explained.

The agents are responsible for recommending places in New Zealand and Australia for Asian students to study at, so there is a lot at stake.

With so many agents, a number of institution representatives and just one day at the workshop, it was hectic. "The result is a bit like speed dating,'' laughed Carol.

"I had something like 16 appointments that day after choosing who I was to meet and send out invitations.

"It's the first time WITT's been represented at one of those agent workshops, but it was very worthwhile.  We have a large number of Indian students here, but we'd really like to diversify that and get students from other countries.

"That was part of the reason for going there, but the other reason was that Venture Taranaki has initiated a Study Taranaki Group and that involves us, most of the high schools, and PIHMS.''

Carol says members within the group work collaboratively. "So while Venture Taranaki (VT) went to represent Study Taranaki and they had a pavilion, I had a table for WITT.''

What eventuated after the conference was that Study Taranaki hosted a visit by some of the agents. "They applied to come on the familiarisation trip and we decided to focus on five agents from Vietnam, Taiwan and Indonesia.''

VT flew them down to New Plymouth the day after the conference to meet local institutions, establish contacts and familiarise themselves with Taranaki.

"Only one had been here before, and it went very well,'' said Carol. "We hosted them to lunch at WITT's Impressions Restaurant and they met our executive team which was great.''

They also had a tour of the campus before visiting Pukekura Park, and NPGHS for dinner.

On Saturday VT staff took them to Hawera , and after a look at the rest of the region,  they came back to New Plymouth and flew out on the Sunday.

"It really is critical that the agents know all about us.  That way they can advise their students and their families that they've been here, seen our facilities, met the staff and that the students will be safe here. That's really important.''

Carol said the agents relaxed as the weekend progressed.

"Hopefully that visit will translate into students from those countries studying at WITT.''

  Carol says China remains very much on WITT's radar and efforts will be made to attract students from there as well.