Fri 5 Apr 2019

Chinese doors open for WITT

WITT’s profile in the Chinese education market has been boosted as a result of a visit by a delegation led by chief executive John Snook.

Mr Snook – who is now starting a similar visit in India – spent eight days discussing WITT’s potential as a destination with employers, universities, schools, education leaders and agents.

The result is a series of agreements for close cooperation, cross credits and exchanges – paving the way for an increase in the number of Chinese students at WITT.

Kingsley Wang, who is working for WITT as Regional Director of China to increase its Chinese international roll, used his contacts to set up a series of key meetings in and around Beijing, Liaoning, Sichuan and Shanxi Provinces and Yunnan province – home of New Plymouth’s sister city Kunming.

Mr Wang divides his time between New Zealand and China, and as a result of last week’s visit WITT has been given an office in Shenyang, from where he will work.

Through Mr Wang’s links, WITT staff were able to build relationships with industry, higher education and agents.

Meeting on the first two days established firm links with two of China’s leading student placement agencies, New Oriental Vision Overseas Consulting and Beijing Aoji Education Consulting.

A visit to Jianyang, part of greater Chengdu, gave WITT access to two enormous schools – including a middle school with an 8000-strong roll and a football stadium which hosts 5000. Mr Snook met students there – and took time out to play table tennis with them.

A chance meeting also exposed a Taranaki link between Olex and the Zhongde Power Cable company which provides power cables to Taranaki. The company is now looking at sending staff studying business courses to WITT.

Mr Wang said while most of the relationships forged were new, one was revived – WITT enjoyed a short relationship with New Oriental Overseas Consulting 15 years ago.

In Shanxi province relationships were also rebuilt with the Shanxi College of Applied Science and Technology in Taiyuan City and plans were discussed for exchanges and cross-crediting to enable students to study for the same qualification in both China and New Plymouth.

WITT News reported in 2017 that just over 18,000 international students attended polytechs and the international education industry was New Zealand’s fourth largest export business, generating $4.5 billion and providing work for 33,000 people.

Mr Wang said while Auckland hosted the lion’s share of international students, Taranaki was an attractive venue.

He said there were clear and strong signals of support for WITT throughout the visit, helped by a letter of support from New Plymouth mayor Neil Holdom.

“This is great starting point for WITT – there is considerable interest in sending students to Taranaki and also to Hamilton to study at the New Zealand Institute of Highway Technology (NZIHT).”