On Monday, Nic started on secondment as the People and Culture Senior Project Manager, a key role in building the foundation for the future as Te Pūkenga.
The move to Te Pukenga has allowed Nic to contribute to the organisational design across the network of subsidiaries. Beginning at WITT in 1993 it is a chance for the skills and knowledge she has gained to be used to benefit a sector going through one of its most significant changes.
Nic started at WITT, formerly known as Taranaki Polytechnic, on the 26 July 1993 teaching in the business and information systems degree programme and has held 10 different positions since 2002, including teaching and management. Each role brought with it a unique focus on ensuring the needs of learners in the Taranaki region are being met.
“I have worked under every WITT chief executive and was there when we changed the name from Taranaki Polytechnic to Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki – Te Kura Mataini o Taranaki,” she recalls.
Nic has observed many changes in the way education is delivered throughout her time with WITT.
“I have seen changes both inside and outside of the classroom with new and evolving technologies having a significant impact on delivery and learning methods.”
“WITT is no longer just a place where students enrol full-time and study a specific programme for a specified length of time. It is now a place that attracts many part-time learners who often want specific knowledge or skills to help advance their career or give them the skills to enter the workforce,” she said.
Nic is proud to say that WITT is committed to ensuring equitable educational opportunities for learners by adapting traditional teaching styles, including a teacher being in a classroom with limited technology to learners participating in noho marae.
“As we move forward and transition to Te Pūkenga, learners will have even greater flexibility in where and how they learn. They will determine what they need, when they need it and how they will obtain these skills.”
“The future will see more integrated global delivery and connections being established, allowing many different employment opportunities to be available for graduates,” she said.
Nic’s focus in recent years has been more on kaimahi (staff).
“Kaimahi are the most important resource the institute has. The kaimahi at WITT are adaptable and resilient. The mahi they do will serve the Taranaki region well as we head into the new era with Te Pukenga being the third largest teaching institution globally.”
“Our people, culture and wellbeing are the keys to the transformed future of vocational education. There will be differences as Aotearoa moves into this new model but our kaimahi and ākonga will always be at the centre of Te Pukenga and what it does,” she said.
Nic is confident that WITT staff will continue to think creatively and be brave with their ideas for the Taranaki region to continue to grow and develop its talent and leaders.
“Change is challenging, and change is hard for everyone, but to be part of the future and be involved in the transformation of vocational education across Aotearoa is exciting and something we should all embrace. We are getting an opportunity to shape the future and what this looks like for ourselves and our learners,” she said.