The Aoraki Polytechnic will merge with Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) to create a new larger tertiary institution that will provide Canterbury-wide access to high quality 21st century vocational education.
“I considered a range of views in arriving at this decision, and believe merging the two tertiary education organisations will provide the highest quality tertiary education for learners, for the institutions, and for the region as a whole,” says Steven Joyce, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister.
“This decision is the result of eighteen months planning by the Councils of Aoraki Polytechnic and CPIT.
“I would like to commend both Councils on their work to build a new sustainable Canterbury-wide entity that will be able to support Cantabrians with quality skills & vocational training wherever and whenever they need it.”
Joyce says the new Polytechnic will operate as a “true regional entity” focussed on delivering relevant skills for students and employers right across the region, including in Christchurch, Timaru, Ashburton and at Oamaru in North Otago.
Terms of the merger will see the Timaru campus upgraded and include a new centre of excellence focussing on the primary sector.
Joyce says the new organisation will be operational for the 2016 academic year and initially trade under the name CPIT Aoraki - it is intended that a new name will be launched in the New Year.
Jenn Bestwick, the current Chair of CPIT will become the Chair of the new organisation, while Janie Annear, currently Chair of Aoraki Polytechnic, will become the new organisation’s Deputy Chair.
According to Joyce, a public consultation on the proposed merger drew 30 submissions - seven were broadly neutral, ten were in favour and 13 disagreed with the proposal.
“The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) will work with both organisations to deliver on their merger implementation plan and ensure the new entity delivers seamlessly to current and new learners,” Joyce adds.
To date, the Government has invested $7.9 million in Aoraki in 2015 and $58 million in CPIT.
The TEC will work with CPIT and Aoraki to finalise funding for the new organisation for 2016 with Joyce adding that this likely to be confirmed in December.
“I expect that the new merged organisation will be a top performer in the New Zealand tertiary education system,” Joyce adds.
“I am also confident it will deliver even more effectively on the skill needs of the Canterbury region.”