In light of the announcement from Education Minister Chris Hipkins, the Mayors of Nelson and Tasman have said they are pleased that the feedback from the Councils, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) and the community has been taken on board with regard to retaining a level of local autonomy and that current local cash reserves will be ring-fenced to be spent in the region.
Minister Hipkins announced that New Zealand's 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) will now be brought together to operate as a single national campus network. In the Nelson Tasman region, this impacts NMIT.
The change is intended to give the industry greater control over all aspects of vocational education and training, making the system more responsive to employers' needs and to the changing world of work.
Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese says “I take confidence from the positive way the news has been received by the Chair and Chief Executive of NMIT.
“We will be keeping a close eye on the transition process over the coming months, especially in regards to the ownership of land and assets. Retaining local ownership will be an important consideration.
“The most crucial thing is that our region continues to be a top destination for tertiary education and training, especially serving the needs of our key industry sectors including aviation engineering, conservation, maritime and viticulture.
“We want to ensure the best training opportunities are still available for students from Nelson and Tasman and that the quality of training here will also attract students from all over the country and the world, which has played a significant role in our regional economy for many years,” Mayor Reese says.
Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne says, ”We want to maintain or improve the effective delivery of education provided by NMIT for the Top of the South (Te Tau Ihu). We have some very effective education programmes currently and a very well-run institute.
“We also have some very effective Industry Training Organisations locally. It is critical if they are to be subsumed into NMIT that we keep the effective ITO staff we have and the training they provide. Losing these programmes would represent a significant loss in the value of effective on-job training and this will have a negative impact on key sectors such as horticulture, forestry and many others. There is much work to do to ensure the ongoing success that currently exists.
“NMIT is an ideal location to develop hubs of excellence in business analytics and developing a research and development science hub.”
NMIT has already signalled that they feel Nelson/Tasman would be an ideal location for the head office of the new institute or at least a key regional hub.
Both Councils are fully supportive of this idea as this region is well placed in the centre of the country, offers great connectivity and there are well-qualified educators who have led the way in working with industry already based here.