Professional experience equals access to qualification

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The Taranaki professional community now have further professional development opportunities right on their doorstep, with a new dedicated programme introduced by the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT).

The QualifyMe programme has been specifically designed for those in our working community who have years of experience in their field, but no formal qualification to match. The programme utilises existing work experience to reduce the time required to complete a diploma or degree qualification.

“Historically, even if you had worked in your specialist industry over the last 10 years and you decided you wanted to get the diploma or degree to match, you would have to complete all the papers to graduate,’ Dr Jan Lockett-Kay, Deputy Director School of Māori Enterprise, Business and Technology explained. “On average, you would be looking at a three-year commitment full time, or anywhere upwards of six years part time”.

“Recognising how much of a time barrier this is for a lot of professional workers, QualifyMe completely changes the way we consider and apply a working professionals previous experience to their learning needs”, says Jan.

QualifyMe focuses on the individual, and understanding how their past work experience correlates to the papers in a diploma or degree they are looking to gain a formal qualification in. There is a formal assessment process carried out by the QualifyMe team who consider, years of industry and work experience to determine how much credit can be given towards the completion of a qualification. Recognising current work experience as prior learning can fast-track a qualification by up to 66%.

The QualifyMe concept fits with a Māori whakatauki (proverb), Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro nōnā te ngahere. Ko te manu e kai ana i te Mātauranga nōnā tea ao. The bird that consumes the miro berry owns the forest. The bird that consumes knowledge owns the world. This whakatauki is an important part of the culture at WITT. “We are focused on enabling professional development for full-time workers wanting to do part-time study, enhancing their future career opportunities and earning potential”.

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