Stakeholder News | February 2021

We had planned to send an update this week celebrating the start of a new academic year and highlighting some of our on-campus orientation activity. Of course, the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday night that new Covid-19 alert levels were coming into effect has meant those events are delayed. We are still happy to report that enrolment numbers are up and we’re looking forward to a busy year at TPP. We’re preparing to mark a year since becoming a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga and making the most of the new opportunities and resources available to the West Coast under the new training model. Updates on the Covid-19 situation notwithstanding, I look forward to talking and meeting with you all in the coming weeks and months as TPP continues to focus on meeting the needs of the local community.

Alex Cabrera
Chief Executive

TPP Covid-19 campus update

TPP is closely monitoring and responding to official guidance in relation to the confirmation of Covid-19 community cases in Auckland at the weekend.

TPP has a Covid-19 response plan in place and is reacting rapidly to updated advice from the Government, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. The health and safety of our staff, students and visitors to campus is our top priority.

For anyone planning to visit or attend an activity or event at a West Coast TPP campus in the coming days, please note the following guidelines.

  • While all TPP facilities in regions outside Auckland remain open under Alert Level 2, strict health and safety guidelines are being followed
  • External bookings for activities over the next week are being considered on a case-by-case basis by the Pandemic Manager
  • All visitors must sign-in at reception and follow all campus rules
  • Anyone who feels unwell should not enter campus
  • For those on campus, good hygiene practices must be followed, including sneezing or coughing into your elbow, washing or sanitising hands and wearing a mask if you have one.

We appreciate your adherence to the guidelines as we all to our part to respond to the changing situation.

Students get ready for work in agriculture and carving

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Listen to TPP’s Agriculture and Jade and Hard Stone Carving students talk about their futures in TPP’s latest promotional video.

Agriculture student Georgia Tobek had never even stood next to a cow before signing-up for TPP’s agriculture programme in 2020.

“Covid happened – I lost my job and I wanted to be outside. My tutors always cared about me; if you didn’t understand what you were doing they would go through the whole thing with you.

“People think farming’s a male’s job but it’s not: it’s everyone’s job.”

Agriculture tutor Bryan Harris says his job is to get students ready for work on West Coast farms. “We’re hands-on. We teach them all about health and safety, driving tractors, riding quads, fencing, spraying, working with animals, everything they need to learn when they walk onto the farm.

Jade and Hard Stone Carving students enjoyed putting their work on show during the December exhibition at the Left Bank Art Gallery.

Tutor Sheree Warren says the students are at the heart of TPP’s carving programme. “Our programme is unique in New Zealand. We help students make their art become their livelihood.”

Student Tom Watkins says the West Coast is an amazing place to learn and be inspired. “You can use the stone you find right here on the West Coast to make beautiful pieces of jewellery."

You can view the Agriculture video here and the Jade and Hard Stone Carving here.

What's ahead for TPP in 2021 

TPP is working with the West Coast community to meet the needs of regional businesses, employers, students and our community. It’s almost a year since TPP became a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga – which brings together the country’s 16 polytechnics. Being part of a bigger entity means TPP has access to more resources, more options for learners and more opportunities for innovation that benefits the West Coast.

In 2021 we’re making the most of new opportunities to pursue collaborations, partnerships and new ways of working that put students at the heart of everything we do. We want to encourage equal access to training for all learners and look at innovative ways of working that make it easier for students to get into the workforce.

Initiatives we’re working on in 2021 include:

  • Creating a Specialist Centre – “Sustainable Conservation”: TPP is working with industry and education sector partners to consider the creation of a sustainable conservation and training hub on the West Coast.
  • “Partnering and Delivering to the Unique Needs of all Learners”: Meeting the training needs of West Coast iwi and encouraging Māori participation in vocational education is a key focus in 2021.
  • Being Collaborative, Innovative and Accessible – “Quarrying”: Quarry is a key growth industry for New Zealand. Most of TPP’s existing quarrying students are already in work; we want to provide greater flexibility for those looking to take the next step in their career by introducing new online and distance learning options in partnership with other education institutes.
  • Primary Industry: We’re making it easier for learners to train for jobs in primary industries by bringing all the options together under one West Coast programme. Currently, there’s no clear pathway between high school training in agriculture and other primary sectors and further training and/or apprenticeships. TPP is partnering with the Primary ITO to change the way training is delivered so the focus is on the student.


Career opportunities discussed at forum

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West Coast careers and employment specialists came together again in February to talk about new initiatives and opportunities for West Coasters.

TPP hosts a regular Careers Lunch for education employment and careers sector representatives as an opportunity to share ideas and initiatives that benefit the West Coast.

The latest event was held in February, with guest speaker Alex Penrose, Tertiary Education Commission Relationship Manager, sharing news about new fees-free training options under the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF) and the Careers Strategy that has been developed through the TEC as part of the Reform of Vocational Education.

Another guest speaker, Jeff Lockhart, Principal Advisor Secondary Transitions, talked about what is happening in some other regions regarding employment and community initiatives that he has been involved in.

All West Coast education employment and careers sector representatives are welcome at the TPP Careers Lunch – if you’d like to be part of the event please email Maree Thomas, TPP Career Hub Coordinator, on mareet@tpp.ac.nz

Shaping the future of tertiary education

It will soon be a year since TPP became a subsidiary of the new national entity – Te Pūkenga – opening up new opportunities for the West Coast.

A lot of establishment work was carried out in 2020, with a focus early this year on putting in place a new operating model that will decide how we work as part of the new, larger entity. This significant piece of work is key for Te Pūkenga as it will decide exactly what the new teaching and learning system looks like.

The work is drawing on ideas from polytechnics all around the country, along with input from students and sector leaders. A series of Reference Groups have been set up and co-design forums are underway in early February.

The design of the new operating model will shape how we work at TPP and our opportunities for delivering quality tertiary education that meets the needs of West Coasters. You can find out more about the development of the new Te Pūkenga operating model here.


Take part in Techweek!

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Calling all tech-minded Coasters: let us know now if you have a great idea for a regional Techweek event in May this year.

Each year, TPP supports the national Techweek event by helping bring events, activities and initiatives to the West Coast. This year’s Techweek theme “Connecting for a Better Future” offers a week-long opportunity for connection and collaboration.

Techweek is a nationwide series of events, showcasing and celebrating New Zealand innovation. The event provides a platform for everyone to meet, share ideas and create connections to enhance our future world. Techweek2021 will be a mix of live, virtual and hybrid events so there’s something to suit everyone. Physical events will be carried out right across the country, while virtual events can be attended and enjoyed from anywhere in the world.

Techweek also has a regional focus, encouraging individuals, business and groups around the country to host seminars, networking events, webinars, and activities that reflect their region.

TPP Leader – Engagement Mequa Hourston says it’s a great opportunity for Coasters to come together and talk about the issues that matter to them.

“We really encourage people to host or lead events – we’re here to help with set up and promotion of the event, so we want to hear your ideas to create a truly West Coast Techweek in 2021.

“It’s an opportunity not just for Coasters to get together and learn from each other, but for businesses to promote their ideas and concepts on a national or global scale, with people watching virtual events across the country.”

If you have an idea for a regional Techweek event – either virtual or in-person, contact Paige Smith – paiges@tpp.ac.nz


Volunteers needed to coach students through Dragon's Den!

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We’re looking for business mentors to help local West Coast students take part in the Dragon’s Den-style Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) business programme.

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.

A YES Kickstart | Tīmata event is being held on 4 March (10am-1pm at TPP’s Greymouth campus) as 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. We’re looking for volunteers now for this great community initiative.

The speed coaching portion of the day is from 11:00am – 12:30pm where you hear some of the YES students’ awesome ideas, then offer constructive feedback. It’s the speed coaches that really make KickStart | Timata days special. The knowledge and expertise you share with our young people is invaluable.

Find out more or sign-up as a volunteer by contacting Jade 027 245 0013 or jadem@tpp.ac.nz.