Bay of Plenty's three major tertiary providers have united to offer greater opportunities to students.
Leaders from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology and the University of Waikato met in Whakatāne to sign a Deed of Cooperation. The Deed is being revitalised following a review of the partnership and the establishment of Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, after the disestablishment of Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and Waiariki Institute of Technology in 2016.
The partnership was initially founded in 2006 between the former Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and the University of Waikato. In 2010, the partnership expanded to include Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and in 2014 the former Waiariki Institute of Technology joined the group. While the three institutions remain autonomous they continue to look for opportunities to work together.
Toi Ohomai Chief Executive Dr Leon Fourie said the partnership brought richness and strength to the region.
"By collaborating with each other, we can better meet the educational needs of our learners and the future resourcing requirements of our region. Each of us offers a unique learning environment to cater for different learning needs but we also make it easy for students to pathway into other courses across the partnership so they can continue to receive the specific qualifications and skills they're looking for."
Professor Alister Jones, University of Waikato Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said the University and, originally, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic had worked together since the 90s to increase tertiary opportunities in the Bay.
"The partnership is currently working towards the development of the new CBD tertiary campus in the heart of Tauranga city, which will open in 2019. It will provide a university campus experience for students and a nationally and internationally recognised Bay of Plenty hub for teaching, learning and research."
Professor Wiremu Doherty, chief executive of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, said it was exciting and unique to have a university, a polytechnic and a whare wānanga working together to provide a broad-spectrum approach for students seeking tertiary education.
"Greater flexibility and seamless movement for students between organisations is key. This partnership is an opportunity collectively to use our individual strengths as wānanga, university and polytechnic to develop a truly collaborative approach that provides students with a first-class tertiary education without leaving our region."
Under the partnership, pathway programmes - including bridging, certificate, diploma and degree qualifications - are offered between the institutions. A number of scholarship programmes are also jointly administered every year such as Project Ignite and Summer School.