Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Cuts put more jobs at risk EIT head


More jobs and student places could be on the chopping block at EIT this year, following a $2 million funding cut that resulted in 10 redundancies, 270 fewer student places and course closures last year.

The significant funding loss was finalised in December by the Tertiary Education Institute, the Government department that allocates funding to the sector.

Nationally, two-thirds of technology institutes missed out on student achievement funds when the money was made available to private providers for the first time.

The tendering process put $38 million out of $115 million up for grabs and was dealt out to 17 private training organisations, one wananga and six institutes of technologies and polytechnics.

EIT CEO Chris Collins said last year's initial round of redundancies and course restrictions was just the first step in what would be a financially challenging year for the Taradale-based institution.

"There's some hard times ahead in this year, and some hard decisions are going to have to be made and that is going to impact on the programmes we offer and the staff that we have," he said.

A TEI spokesperson said no comment could be made until the funding allocations were made public in the coming weeks.

However, at time of the announcement Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce said criteria had widened because not all providers had been performing.

Mr Collins said the loss meant many entry-level course placements were reduced. However, there had been extra funding allocated to school leaver programmes, such as the Trades Academy that had nearly doubled in size this year.

"The reality is we are still overall $2 million less in funding than we were last year and that's a big gap so the institution will have to adjust and find ways to adjust to that loss of revenue.

"One of the concerns for us is that Hawke's Bay fared very poorly overall. Financially we are still stable. It is strong and sound when you look at the balance sheet and that's because there has been a long history of good financial management but the issue is for this year that we will be spending a lot more money than we will be receiving and as everyone knows, whether as an individual or an organisation, if you keep doing that you go broke."

Policy changes in the past meant funding cuts and changes were nothing new, however this year brought new challenges.

"The difference is that we wouldn't have had a year like 2013 where we are going in with essentially a deficit. We have to ride it out in a smart and prudent way so that we are protecting our core education for the region."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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