Rotorua students will be spoilt for choice with a new tertiary provider, specialising in hospitality and IT, setting up shop in town.

Avonmore Tertiary Institute celebrated its official opening yesterday at its new Pukaki St campus, with attendees from local schools and industry leaders.

It has been running nationwide since 1988 and has campuses in Auckland, Tauranga and Christchurch.

The private training establishment will offer hospitality and IT courses in Rotorua, with the first hospitality intake starting in August.

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The institute started a group on its Level 5 computer technician course last month. Tutor Jo McCormick said the official opening was really good with a "nice spattering" of attendees.

"Setting up in Rotorua has been in the pipeline for at least a year. I know the general manager in Tauranga always had a wish to get something set up over here so while it has taken a lot of effort to get everything done, now we're here."

Ms McCormick said it was important for cities such as Rotorua to have a range of choices for school leavers.

"Competition is healthy and I think it's good for students to have options when they're choosing their pathways. For example, Waiariki is good but it's not for everyone. Some people find those big establishments daunting so that's where we come in, offering closer, tightknit classes with a more holistic overtone.

"Our main points of difference are that we are more 'boutiquey', we're smaller and we are focused on getting our students into the workplace sooner rather than later."

She said the institute was offering "taster courses" for high school students as a way to show them what a career in the industry would look like, without the obligation of enrolling for a whole course.

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"Sometimes your idea of a career does not always match up to what it is like in reality which is why we are offering these taster courses which are one day a week for 10 weeks.

"The students get some credits while getting a feel for what they would be in store for should they choose to study with us."

- For more information about Avonmore's new Rotorua campus and the courses on offer, go to www.avonmore.ac.nz.