NorthTec staff and students welcomed the Chair and Chief Executive of Te Pūkenga on Monday (9 November) as part of their national roadshow visiting New Zealand’s polytechnics.
Murray Strong, Chair, Stephen Town, Chief Executive, and Te Pūkenga Board member John Brockies, were welcomed with a pōwhiri on Te Puna o Te Mātauranga marae, on the Raumanga campus.
They then took the opportunity to meet with the NorthTec Board before holding a question and answer session with staff and touring the Future Trades centre in Dyer Street, Whangārei.
Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology was formed through the Government’s Reform of Vocational Education. On 1 April 2020, NorthTec, along with the country’s other polytechnics and institutes of technology, became a subsidiary of the new organisation.
Stephen Town told staff that by the second half of 2021, they will start to see real changes occurring in the sector. A new operating model is being developed, which will be co-designed and consulted with learners, staff and stakeholders and confirmed by mid-2021, then implemented during the latter half of 2021 and through 2022. This will include transitioning up to 140,000 apprentices from New Zealand’s current Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) as Te Pūkenga takes over the role of arranging training.
Mr Town said that achieving equity for Māori is a key priority, with Te Pūkenga planning to support staff across the sector to understand the importance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and weave tikanga into all student services. He said: “We will demonstrate to Māori learners, and indeed to everyone, that we are about creating a better future together for Aotearoa.”
He also told staff that under Te Pūkenga’s capital asset management strategy, institutions with older facilities like NorthTec may be considered for investment. Investment across the network would be considered at a central level to ensure the national footprint was able to support the new operating model.
The visitors from Te Pūkenga enjoyed lunch prepared and served by NorthTec’s hospitality students before formally opening a new “whānau room” on campus which has been developed for social services students and their families.
They then took a trip to the Dyer Street campus where they were shown the extensive trades training spaces.
Jon Smith, NorthTec’s Acting Chief Executive, said: “We’re glad to have had the opportunity to welcome Murray, Stephen and John to NorthTec. They will be leading through a period of major change in New Zealand’s tertiary and vocational training sector, and it is important for the people of Te Tai Tokerau to have their input to this process.
“We look forward to having them back in the future to visit some of our regional campuses and regional stakeholders, as we move through the change process and see positive developments emerging for NorthTec.”