NorthTec consulting on changes to programme offerings

30 October 2017

NorthTec is consulting with staff, unions and students on proposed plans to cease offering programmes in Visual Arts, Sport and Recreation, Tourism, Business Administration and Computing, and Foundation Level 2. This is because they may not have sufficient demand, are no longer financially viable given current funding, or are not leading to valuable employment outcomes for its students.

Decisions around the proposed changes would be made in early December but NorthTec would continue to teach those students who are already enrolled in the affected courses through to course completion.

The proposed changes would reduce the number of teaching, administrative and managerial positions at NorthTec and see the resting of the Rawene and Kerikeri campuses. This has occurred before at the Rawene campus and would allow time for NorthTec to explore options around financial viability.

Consultation is taking place with unions and staff on approximately 75 dis-established positions across its Northland delivery sites. As part of the proposed changes 39 new positions would be created.

NorthTec currently employs 476 permanent, fixed and casual staff; of whom 259 are academic.

The reduction in the number of courses on offer at the polytechnic would see it re-focus its efforts on delivering relevant education to a high standard according to employers’ needs and the region’s growth strategies, and grow this delivery in the future. NorthTec said its restructuring team had done its best to ensure proposed reductions in programmes, roles and teams were limited to those that were absolutely necessary.

The organisation recognised that this was upsetting news for the NorthTec staff involved and acknowledged their hard work for the benefit of their students and the organisation, in some cases over many years.

It noted the need to ensure that there was appropriate student demand and that graduates were produced who were equipped with the specific skills and expertise that employers in Northland, across New Zealand and internationally would be looking for in the future. These were skills and expertise that would make a difference to the lives and life outcomes of Northlanders and assist in transforming the region.

The New Zealand Qualification Authority’s External Evaluation Review Panel recently completed a regular and scheduled assessment of NorthTec’s performance and stated it was confident in both NorthTec’s educational performance and its self-assessment performance.

The polytechnic said the work it had been undertaking to identify what it needed to do to remain relevant to both students and employers and assist in the transformation of Northland was a good example of this self-assessment capability.

It acknowledged that it was difficult news to have to deliver to impacted staff but said it was necessary to ensure the organisation was heading in the right direction for the needs of the region, and the sustainability and growth of the organisation.