Thu 3 Oct 2019

WITT partners with China's No 1 construction company

A Memorandum of Understanding between WITT and China’s number one ranked construction company is set to strengthen Taranaki’s global links with the infrastructure industry and open doors for collaboration.

The new cooperation agreement was signed on Tuesday at WITT’s New Plymouth campus by Chief Executive John Snook and China Construction Yangtze River (New Zealand) Co Ltd (CCTEB NZ) Director Liza Ding.

“The arrangement between WITT and CCTEB NZ promotes the sharing of information and resources between educator and industry,” Mr Snook said.

“It’s a move toward delivering on the need for skilled infrastructure workers and promotes WITT as a study destination for Chinese students.”

NZIHT connects with industry

WITT is well-established in engineering, roading, and construction education, with its subsidiary - the New Zealand Institute of Highway Technology (NZIHT) - the country’s largest training provider of its kind.

NZIHT General Manager Kyle Hall said there is a natural alignment with CCTEB NZ, who are setting up in New Zealand to take on bridge and roading projects.

“We’re preparing for Taranaki to become the hub for infrastructure education and training in New Zealand. WITT is actively promoting the concept of a centre for excellence in Infrastructure, Engineering and Energy under the government’s new ITP structure and the Taranaki region will benefit from cooperation with a large-scale Chinese infrastructure company such as CCTEB NZ.”

“Connectivity between China and New Zealand is of growing importance, with China’s Belt and Road Initiative in play.”

The Belt and Road Initiative is a series of infrastructure projects led by the Chinese government, and it includes developing connections between China and foreign countries and companies.

“WITT was seeking a partnership that looks at strengthening connections with industry both here and offshore, as well as linking our future graduates, resources and teaching to the global development strategy,” Kyle said.

“NZIHT is the preferred educational provider of CCTEB in New Zealand, and that is something significant for our growth in infrastructure.”

Building international relationships

Earlier this month WITT launched four new schools, one of which is the School of Engineering, Energy and Infrastructure. Mr Snook said the school is placing emphasis on growing with the industry.

“We’re focussing more on growing our international relationships and looking to work together with other institutes and organisations to benefit our region and our students.

WITT is offering the Bachelor of Engineering Technology for the first time in 2020.

“It’s a signal that we are responding to the training needs of New Zealand and our region, making sure our people are equipped with the skills to meet the demand for engineers both here and overseas.”

CCTEB NZ is a subsidiary company of China State Construction Engineering Corp, one of the world’s largest construction companies with an annual turnover of around US$100 billion.

Welcoming Chinese students to the region

WITT’s China Regional Director, Kingsley Wang, initiated the relationship between the two parties. He said the MoU offered an advantage to Chinese students and their families.

“We are very excited to partner with the number one ranked construction company in China and we welcome Chinese students to our region.

“WITT is offering short courses and the 12 month full-time Graduate Diploma in Engineering (Highways). It’s a qualification designed for those people who already have an engineering or science background and degree qualification, but need advanced highways related training.”

The Graduate Diploma in Engineering (Highways) is an area of study covered by the New Zealand government’s Long Term Skill Shortage List and Mr Wang said there is a real advantage for the families of international students taking this path.

“This means they can bring their partner on a partner work visa, and children can study in New Zealand as domestic students,” Kingsley said.

“And once they’ve graduated, students get another two-year Graduate Job Search visa. Their partner will be eligible for a partner work visa for the same period of time, and children continue studying in New Zealand as domestic students. It’s a huge benefit for the family.”