“Following our recent celebration of providing training and education to the people of Taranaki for 50 years, this is an exciting step forward in how we upskill, train and educate the people of the region for the next 50 years,” says WITT Te Pūkenga Chief Executive John Snook.
WITT, formerly known as Taranaki Polytechnic, opened its doors on 1 February 1972 and became the thirteenth technical institute in New Zealand. Now, 50 years on WITT offers more than 65 courses, including three bachelor degree programmes and a postgraduate diploma.
For ākonga (learners) and kaimahi (staff) there is no day-to-day change. All kaimahi will be employed by Te Pūkenga with no changes to roles, reporting lines or terms and conditions. Ākonga will remain enrolled in their qualification and will continue to learn in the same way, in the same place, with the same people.
Over time, Te Pūkenga will offer a unified approach to work-based, campus based and online learning to provide a comprehensive network of studying opportunities for ākonga.
“It’s an exciting time for both ākonga and kaimahi as the benefits of being one network, sharing and working collaboratively are realised,” says Snook.
While the unification offers efficiencies and flexibility for learners, the importance of ensuring a regional voice has been retained.
Minister Hipkins says: “Regional representatives are empowered to make decisions about delivery and operations that are informed by local relationships and to make decisions that meet the needs of their communities.”
As one of the smaller polytechnics in the Te Pūkenga network, WITT has 4,933 students enrolled out of 205,328 learners nationally, and 340 staff out of 8018 (full time equivalent employees) across the motu.
WITT is one of the final polytechnics in New Zealand to transition to Te Pūkenga.
“The decision to move on 1 November allows us to complete the transition process before the demands of the end of the year events and the Christmas closedown period and receive the benefits of being able to learn from those who have completed the transition ahead of us,” says Snook.
As part of the transition the WITT board will also be dissolved.
“The support of the outgoing board during the transition has been exceptional and they have provided a vision for education in Taranaki (Te Korowai Matauranga o Taranaki) that shows the economic growth of the region built on the foundation of quality education,” says Snook.
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