Tertiary and research to drive Bay economic growth

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Economic development agency Priority One is encouraging the local businesses and the wider community to provide feedback on the draft Bay of Plenty Tertiary Action Plan

The draft plan was developed with input from over 150 representatives of key industry sectors, stakeholders and community groups across the Bay of Plenty to ensure future tertiary and research provision meets local needs.

A substantial literature review of existing regional, national and international information was also undertaken.

Emerging themes from stakeholder feedback include the need for more engineering skills and entrepreneurship training, addressing the needs of mature and older people, an increased focus on Maori economic development, encouragement of tailored solutions, supporting new industry development, and connecting and empowering local people.

A number of specific recommendations have been made that require full regional buy-in and ownership in order to be successful.

The purpose of making the draft Tertiary Action Plan public is to gauge whether the wider community feels these matters for consideration are the right ones for our region, as well as giving people the opportunity to voice their own suggestions on how key objectives can be achieved and the nature of research and programme delivery.

Tertiary Action Plan Reference group chair, Bill Wasley, said "Key objectives for the region include increasing tertiary education participation and attainment for people within our communities, particularly Maori, developing a highly educated and skilled workforce that is aligned to the needs of employers, and increasing research for sector development and innovation to help support overall economic growth, community and business development."

The draft TAP proposes that the region's tertiary providers, along with government agencies, economic development agencies, spatial planning partnerships, iwi, industry and community groups work in partnership to ensure the region's current and future education and research priorities are met.

Priority One Strategic projects manager and TAP project manager, Greg Simmonds, said "The action plan has been developed for the people and communities of the wider Bay of Plenty. Its purpose is to provide collaborative leadership and regional advocacy for community needs that can be addressed through tertiary education."

The full draft Tertiary Action Plan, as well as a summary document, are available on the Bay of Connections website http://www.bayofconnections.com/sector-strategy/tertiary-action-plan/.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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