Stakeholder News April 2021

Stakeholder News | April 2021

We received very good news at the start of March, with the recognition from NZQA that Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s recent programme of quality improvement has seen significant improvements across the organisation. We’ve worked hard to put the processes in place to make these improvements, all the while focused on our efforts to engage more widely with you – our local community – and find opportunities to work with our regional partners to support development activities and meet the needs of the West Coast.

A highlight of the past month was, as always, our annual graduation ceremony; the event is an important recognition of the hard work of our students and we wish all our graduates every success in their next endeavours. There’s been plenty more happening around campus recently, take a look below at some of our highlihghts – I look for to working with many of you in the coming months.

Alex Cabrera
Chief Executive

Focus on meeting community needs

Tai Poutini Polytechnic is focusing on meeting the future needs of the local community after a great result in its latest NZQA quality review.

NZQA has confirmed that it is confident about the polytechnic’s educational performance and is highly confident in its self-assessment capability. Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s External Evaluation and Review (EER) outcome has resulted in an improvement in rating from Category 3 to Category 2.

The report noted that new processes had “led to wide-ranging, well-embedded improvements for learners and stakeholders”. It also found that students get strong support from staff and that “…a clear understanding of, and growing connection with, the communities of the West Coast region are also evident.”

Chief Executive Alex Cabrera welcomed the positive rating as a reflection of the hard work and improvements the institute had made in recent times.

“We introduced a Quality Improvement Plan in 2018. This work has resulted in continual and significant improvements right across the organisation and we’re extremely pleased it has been reflected in NZQA’s findings.

“It was particularly pleasing to note the review’s findings that our good planning and alignment with Te Pūkenga expectations has been a contributor to what they called ‘progressive and thoughtful’ improvements at the polytechnic.”

Board Chair Rebecca Keoghan says “We are now looking to the future, with continued improvements under way and a strong focus on connecting and collaborating with our community in order to meet the needs of the West Coast and support the region’s growth.”

“We’re committed to reaching out to the region, continuing to listen and working to support initiatives and activities that encourage growth.”

Polytechnic graduates launch new careers

Polytechnic graduates launch new careers

Tai Poutini Polytechnic celebrated the achievements and efforts of students at the annual Graduation Ceremony in March. The event was an opportunity to share learner experiences with whānau and friends, recognising the hard work and talent of our graduates. We wish our returning students and those taking the first steps in their new careers every success.



Business ideas bubbling

Business ideas bubbling

Young entrepreneurs launched their business dreams at the first of this year’s Young Enterprise Scheme events in March.

Hosted at the polytechnic, high school students from around the region got a taste of what the Dragon’s Den might hold for them, with speed coaching sessions on how to plan and present business ideas and information on what the rest of the year holds.

Each year students from around the region take part in the YES business challenge, where they come up with a business idea, are guided through a planning process and ultimately pitch their ideas to a panel of experts.

The YES Kickstart | Tīmata event held in March was an opportunity for students to meet their local Regional Coordinator, other YES students in their region, and business people from the community. Students will get valuable information to help them pursue their business ideas and hopefully take part in the year-long YES programme.

Part of the programme involves “speed coaching” with local volunteers where students are offered feedback on their ideas and plans. Thanks to everyone who is giving their time and expertise to support the programme!

Sun shines on Children's Day

Sun shines on Childrens Day


Getting out and supporting local events, talking to our community and celebrating the West Coast is all in a day’s work for Tai Poutini Polytechnic.

We had a fantastic day out at Children’s Day in Hokitika during March. The sun was shining, little faces smiling and there was plenty of fun to be had. Our West Coast Road Safety scooter course was a real highlight, as was the bouncy castle. Can’t wait to see you all again next year!

Students get a taste of real-world guiding

Students get a taste of real world guiding

Leading a three-day camp for Westland High School students in March was a fantastic way for polytechnic outdoor education students to cement their learning and have fun in the local community.

The camp saw polytechnic students, under the watchful eye of professional tutors, lead high school students on a series of outdoor adventures. As well as being a fun and educational event for the younger students, it’s a key part of outdoor education learning as it lets students put their guiding, communication and leadership skill to effect in a real world environment.

It was also a great fun three days for all involved!

Te Pūkenga news and progress

It’s now a year since Tai Poutini Polytechnic, along with all polytechnics around the country, became a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga.

The transition to the new sector model will take a few years to fully complete, in the meantime we have been making the most of access to great resources and opportunities for collaboration that benefit the West Coast. The focus for Te Pūkenga has been on setting up the foundations and preparing for a new national approach to tertiary vocational training.

Some latest progress highlights include:

Operating Model: The past month has seen wide feedback sought on how the new model will operate. This co-design process, being led by Te Pūkenga and EY will deliver a plan, in the form of a business case, that will outline how Te Pūkenga will transform teaching and learning and create a cohesive sustainable vocational education system that helps improve wellbeing for all New Zealanders and supports a growing economy that works for everyone.

Ideas and suggestions are still being sought from TITOs and subsidiary staff, learners, employers and anyone who has experience in the sector they would like to share. This information will feed-in to the development of the operating model over the course of the year.

Ākonga at the Centre: Te Pūkenga has a strong focus on putting learners at the centre of all work. A significant workstream is undertaking research across the sector so that learner experiences are understood and can form the basis of the new model.

The Pūkenga’s Learner Journey and Experience team are connecting with learner leaders and national associations across the Te Pūkenga network to empower their collective learner voice and to share some of the insights and opportunities that have come from this research.

TITO Transition and Work-based Learning workstream: Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, has approved the establishment of a work-based learning subsidiary. This is a necessary step which Te Pūkenga needs to put in place as part of the legal arrangements to transition those TITOs who have indicated they would like to transition to become part of Te Pūkenga. Work to establish this subsidiary is already underway. Four TITOs have signed Letters of Intent to transition some of the arranging of work-based training functions to Te Pūkenga before the end of 2021. That includes Competenz, Connexis, BCITO and most recently MITO.

Have your say here.

Agriculture training for high school students

Agriculture training for high school students

Tai Poutini Polytechnic was proud to support John Paul II High School students in their recent participation in the Field Days event in Kirwee in March.

The polytechnic's Agriculture Tutor Bryan Harris took time to visit the high school a week ahead of the event and take students through some basic farming skills training. He was impressed with the efforts and hard work of the students who were able to construct, isolate and repair a farm fence under his guidance.