NorthTec details re-structuring decisions

8 December 2017


NorthTec details re-structuring decisions

Northland-based tertiary education institute NorthTec has released details of the decisions it has reached on the restructuring proposals announced in October.

Five programme areas will cease some or all of their delivery once students currently enrolled on these courses have completed them.  An additional three programme areas have been given the opportunity to be reinstated if they have sufficient student demand for 2018.

The campuses at Kerikeri and Rawene will be rested.

The polytech received 164 submissions in response to the restructuring proposals it outlined last month. Sixty dealt with the mix of programme provision, and the rest were related to delivery sites and proposed structural changes in managerial and administrative roles. 

The organisation thanked everyone who had contributed to the consultation process. The polytech’s leadership team had been encouraged by the depth of community support for the work being undertaken by NorthTec and delighted by the willingness of local organisations and businesses to encourage enrolment and provide practical and material assistance at a difficult time for the entire tertiary vocational education sector.

The changes were made at a time of increasing financial and funding challenges, with decreasing student enrolments putting pressure on some particular course delivery. In the case of these particular courses, NorthTec stated it was not possible to sustain the current losses.  It noted the need to concentrate on its strong programmes and outcomes, to ensure locally-centred tertiary education provision for the region.

The organisation noted that the exercise had been difficult for NorthTec staff, their families and whānau, and for its wider community. But it noted the need to move forward now with its strong programme content delivering for local students and stakeholders. It also noted that the decisions that have been made are geared at ensuring better outcomes for our region.

NZQA have stated they are confident in NorthTec’s educational performance and confident in NorthTec’s ability to self-assess. NorthTec noted that now the decision-making around the restructuring process has been completed, there is a need to put its new strategy into action. It noted that the first, vitally important part of this was to ensure that it had the level of student demand on to its programmes. 

Rawene Campus

The proposal to rest the Rawene campus is confirmed and NorthTec will not be delivering from the Rawene campus in 2018. It is acknowledged that the facility is a community asset and NorthTec will consult with the community on longer-term options of how the site could become a community campus.  In the short term, the campus will remain open to community groups who wish to use its facilities.  Where viable, transport will be put in place to provide access for local students to a wider range of courses.  Study options for the residents of Rawene and the wider area were taken into account, and where suitable alternative delivery sites and viable cohorts of students can be secured, Carpentry, Painting and Te Reo programmes will be made available in Semester 1 of 2018.

Kerikeri Campus

The proposal to rest the Kerikeri campus in 2018 is confirmed. 

The intention is to potentially re-commence a revisited range of programmes in 2019, subject to student demand and stakeholder support.  An appropriate delivery site for the Foundation Studies and Business programmes, which will continue to be offered in the area, will be determined once there is a better understanding of where the enrolled students live and confirmation of sufficient student demand.

The existing Elementary Construction programme in the Mid North will cease.

There is also the possibility that limited use of this campus may be made available to external parties, pending discussions with iwi/hapū and other community groups.

Five programme areas where some or all of the delivery will cease are;

Business Administration and Computing - programmes will not be offered face to face in 2018 apart from one offering of Level 4 Business Administration and Computing in Whangarei required for a ‘teach out’ to meet contractual obligations.  A review of the delivery of this suite of programmes will be part of 2019 programme re-development to regrow the organisation against our strategic direction. In support of the new strategic direction, several submissions suggested pilots of blended learning delivery programmes in this cluster. This will be explored in 2018.

Construction – NorthTec will not offer Construction and Painting courses at Awataha marae next year.  Although the owners of the marae have been very supportive, delivering the programmes to the cohort in Auckland does not meet the strategic vision or direction of the organisation.  Students interested in studying on these courses will be offered similar alternative courses at Auckland based institutions.

There will be no NorthTec courses offered at Swanson in Auckland next year.  Although again the parties involved have been supportive, the courses offered this year did not achieve their budgeted numbers.  Students interested in studying on these courses will also be offered similar alternative courses at Auckland based institutions.

All other construction programmes with sufficient student demand will continue to run.

Environmental Studies & Science – The Marine Adventure and Eco Tourism programme will not be delivered in 2018.  Student demand has decreased in 2017 and NorthTec can no longer sustain the costs of the programme. NorthTec intends to review this programme as part of a future re-development plan to regrow the organisation against its strategic direction.

The New Zealand Diploma in Applied Sciences Level 6 will not be offered in 2018 and will be replaced by a Level 4 delivery to reflect current student demand.  NorthTec will work with students enrolled on the Level 5 qualification to examine alternative options for further study.  The value of science programmes to NorthTec, the region and as a government priority is acknowledged.  NorthTec will continue to offer programmes at Level 4 and 5 while the programme maintains its viability and achieves successful outcomes, and looks forward to reoffering Level 6 when the necessary student demand exists.

Hospitality – Manaaki Marae programmes will not be offered by NorthTec in 2018.  The programme offering in 2017 did not retain sufficient student numbers to pay for its costs.  Discussions will be undertaken with our partners in the area to assist them in their continued delivery of the programme should they so wish. 

Information Systems – The Information Systems programme will be 'rested' for two years until there is increased demand.  Student demand has decreased over the last two years, making this programme financially unviable and unsustainable.  NorthTec could potentially operate in this area in the future and a review will be part of 2019 programme re-development to regrow the organisation against our strategic direction.

The three programme areas for which some delivery will be reinstated if there is sufficient student demand are;

Safe Trades – Delivery of the Level 4 Safe Trades programme in Whangarei maybe re-instated for 2018, subject to NorthTec’s ability to enrol a viable number of students in a single cohort instead of the split cohort approach taken to date.  In addition, NorthTec will bring delivery of First Aid courses ‘in house’, to be delivered by the Safe Trades Team. 

Sport & Recreation – A decision has been made to confirm a commitment to those students who enrolled with the intention of completing the degree programme that they will be supported through to completion.

A Year 1 intake in 2018 will be confirmed if there is sufficient student demand and support from stakeholders is in place. Details of the student numbers required, and the date at which decisions will be made, will be shared shortly. The Sport and Recreation programme team have done an excellent job in mobilising staff, community and stakeholders in Tai Tokerau in response to the proposals for change.  

The team has demonstrated a strong network that is well supported.  Importantly the programmes stakeholders have indicated a willingness to work further with NorthTec through being actively engaged in supporting recruitment activity and assistance on course costs and graduate student outcomes.  

Visual Arts – A decision has been made to confirm a commitment to those students who enrolled with the intention of completing the degree programme that they will be supported through to completion of their degrees.

A Year 1 intake in 2018 is confirmed if there is sufficient student demand and stakeholder support is in place. Stakeholders have committed to assist with student recruitment and successful student outcomes on the programme.  The Visual Arts programme team have done an excellent job in mobilising staff, community and stakeholders in Tai Tokerau in response to the proposals for change.  

Tourism - The Tourism programme will continue to be offered in 2018. NorthTec has agreed new terms with its delivery partners for this programme, which now make it sustainable.

Agriculture and Horticulture - It had been hoped that at the time of this brief a decision could be made on affected Agriculture and Horticulture programmes. NorthTec is waiting for funding decisions from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and has been advised that these are imminent.  While NorthTec remains optimistic about a positive response, until this is received the polytech will not be making any commitments to staff or students. As soon as more information is received, all staff and students will be contacted and informed.

Ultimately, this is difficult news but these are decisions that need to be made to strengthen NorthTec’s viability and ability to provide high quality, relevant education to the people of our region, and to produce graduates who successfully go on to achieve great outcomes for themselves, their whānau and our communities.