The establishment of Ara 2016

On 30 March CPIT Aoraki will announce a new name and vision at official dawn ceremonies and lunchtime concerts for staff and students in Christchurch and Timaru. 

In late 2015, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce considered our vision for change and approved CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic's proposal to jointly create a new organisation that will provide accessible and innovative vocational training for the entire Canterbury region.

Our vision is to be an exciting, relevant, contemporary, vibrant and viable contributor to individual and community prosperity throughout Canterbury by improving access, extending the range of programmes and services and by becoming a destination for national and international students. The new organisation will respond to Canterbury's exceptional expansion as the Christchurch earthquake rebuild matures, and as sustained growth in primary production continues to underpin demographic and economic growth. It will support the need for continued diversification, particularly in such areas as health, ICT, tourism, and sustainability.

As we now begin to implement the new organisation, our commitment to our students remains the same – to deliver innovative, industry-relevant programmes and to provide qualifications that open doors here and overseas.


CPIT Aoraki's directors and heads of department host a staff welcome event at the Timaru campus 


On Thursday 4 February, CPIT Aoraki's Directors and Heads of Department hosted a welcome event at the Arthur Street Timaru campus for staff from the Timaru, Ashburton and Oamaru campuses. The event was an opportunity to develop and create new connections with our teams and campuses across the region.  

New Organisation - Welcome Event in Timaru. 

CPIT Aoraki South Canterbury Campuses get IT Upgrade 


ICT Upgrade in South Canterbury 

ICT Service Analyst Ollie Wall unloads a computer destined for CPIT Aoraki's South Canterbury campuses

CPIT Aoraki's South Canterbury campuses have started the year running with new computers and a 20 times increase in internet capacity.

The IT upgrade comes as part of CPIT Aoraki's work to provide enhanced services to staff and students for education throughout the Canterbury region. It promises to provide students with a more responsive learning experience and will provide support for innovative teaching approaches such as blended delivery and flexible learning.

"The upgrade ensures better connectivity within the organisation and will assist in course delivery and management," CPIT Aoraki ICT Director Mark Marshall says.

As part of the upgrade South Canterbury campuses have received 360 new computers, with all old computer monitors being replaced.

"When staff and students get back to campus every single computer will be brand new," says Marshall.

The upgrade also means that staff and students have additional access to specialist software and computer systems to assist with their studies.

"Formerly student and staff at the South Canterbury campuses only had access to around 90 software products, they will now get a complete suite of up to 450 software products, supporting all of our new courses," Marshall says.

In addition to new software and hardware the upgrade also includes increased internet access and internet speeds. Wireless access has been improved at all campuses while the Oamaru campus has received WiFi for the first time.

"Any student or staff member can now log onto the CPIT Aoraki computer system at any of the campuses," Marshall says.

The upgrade includes the installation of 40 new CISCO network switches which are used to connect computers into a network which then connects to the internet. The network switches are the industrial equivalent of an internet router used at home. The new network switches enable the organisation to increase capacity at the South Canterbury campuses from 100Mbs to 2Gs, while standard home broadband internet connections have a speed of 10Mbs.

The internet upgrade also aims to increase system security.

"The network switches report system status to us so we can pro-actively resolve problems quickly and the campuses all link to an off-site data centre, so if one campus goes offline, the rest of the system will remain unaffected," Marshall says.

The upgrade is part of the transition implementation for the new organisation CPIT Aoraki.

New business programmes have regional perspective 


CPIT is taking a regional perspective with two of its three new business programmes being offered in 2016. The programmes include degree majors in the Bachelor of Applied Management and graduate diploma courses in personal financial management and supply chain logistics. A third new offering for 2016 is a degree major and graduate diploma in retail management. The programmes are focused on supporting the regional economy.

Personal Financial Planning Degree a first for New Zealand

The degree and graduate diploma courses in Personal Financial Planning are designed for regional delivery in the second semester and will fit seamlessly into business courses currently offered by CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic.

"CPIT is the only organisation in New Zealand which is offering a business degree with a major in Personal Financial Planning. This will give students a solid foundation for achieving the status of Authorised Financial Adviser – the industry equivalent of a chartered accountant. This is ideal preparation for anyone wanting to give financial advice in banking, insurance, or anywhere providing financial advice and wealth management," says Dr Schwellnus.

The specialisation is integrated as part of the broader degree in applied business management which means students who are already studying towards a business degree can do their major in personal financial planning whether they have been studying at Aoraki Polytechnic or CPIT.

The Graduate Diploma in Personal Financial Planning has blended learning – with students having online training mixed with classroom teaching and one-to-one mentoring.

"We are using online learning where appropriate, but there will always be mentoring. Our courses are applied and so experience in the business environment is a very important aspect to all of our courses."

These degree and graduate diploma courses were designed in response to increasing pressure on the financial services industry to ensure that financial advisers have the appropriate knowledge and skills.

Institute of Financial Advisers Chair Michael Dowling says that the new qualification was a sign of the profession's maturity.

"We're really pleased that CPIT has come on board to provide these qualifications. These are good qualifications that go beyond what's expected and are part of increasing the upskilling of the profession."

Institute of Financial Advisers Manager for Learning and Development Andrew Gunn says the new course was aligned with international standards and would be recognised internationally.

"The course has been mapped to international Financial Standard Planning Board learning outcomes and we are confident that this meets the qualification pre-requisite for the pinnacle designation of CFPCMCertified Financial PlannerCM."

Supply Chain Logistics critical for all enterprises

Another exciting, new opportunity at CPIT is the degree and graduate diploma in Supply Chain Logistics. The course is a natural extension of courses for operations and production management, and will teach effective approaches for distributing manufactured goods or bringing goods in.

"This is the perfect course for people in rural New Zealand. Everything you do depends on the distribution networks and the supply lines you establish," says Dr Schwellnus.

"The course is designed to meet the needs of agriculture and primary industry," says Dr Schwellnus. "And we are working towards blended delivery which would enable students to study online if there is sufficient interest.

"The course is equally valuable if you are managing a farm, a supermarket, a shipping company or an airline company. Managing logistical complexity is vital for any competitive organisation."

Dr Schwellnus' comments were echoed by former CPIT operations and production management graduate and Fliway Transport operations manager Brian Pentecost.

"We're an integrated part of the supply chain, so organising logistics is big part of my current role. A formal qualification which teaches specific management techniques and gives you the opportunity to practise these skills would be invaluable."

Retail Management brings sales to higher level

The new courses in Retail Management are designed for people already in the retail sector who want to develop their skills and knowledge. They are aimed at people who work in the sector, want to advance their career or want to develop their own personal business. The courses cover market development and sales, retail management, retail marketing, consumer behaviour and e-commerce.

"The retail sector is constantly becoming more sophisticated and these papers will give students the most up to date skills and information," says Dr Schwellnus.

While much of the course consists of classroom and practical learning, it includes online support and has the potential for greater blended learning options. This means working professionals will have the opportunity to study and gain qualifications that will enable them to succeed at the highest levels of retail management.

CPIT programmes are accessible to everyone

All CPIT business programmes are offered during the day and in the evening, with summer courses, weekend sessions, and holiday courses also available to give people in full-time and part-time employment the opportunity to gain qualifications while working to support themselves and their families.

Furthermore, CPIT's Centre for the Assessment of Prior Learning can offer students credits for experience giving mature students the possibility of gaining credits towards a qualification, receiving direct entry into graduate diploma courses.

"CPIT has great options available for students to be credited for their experience, skills and knowledge and to be able to provide them with new skills at the level they need. This is education tailored to meet student needs," says Dr Schwellnus.

"We are looking forward to teaching these three new courses in addition to our other programmes in 2016 and invite anyone interested in developing their career to visit the CPIT website and find out what courses we offer that match their needs."

New programmes for 2016 for South Canterbury


The newly combined CPIT Aoraki vocational training institute will offer new programmes at a regional level in 2016.

South Canterbury students can now apply for additional business management, IT and primary production management programmes, which will be offered at South Canterbury campuses.

Known as CPIT Aoraki until a new name is announced next year, the combined institute will draw on the strengths and experience of both institutes to provide accessible vocational training across the Canterbury region, Chief Executive Kay Giles says.

"We want to be clear that the new organisation will extend the provision of vocational training across Canterbury and ensure that vocational training is sustainable and relevant to the region.

"Individual programme delivery will always be influenced by learner uptake, industry relevance and nationally recognised qualifications being released from the NZQA review of qualifications across the sector, however we are off to a very good start with new programmes on offer."

New programmes include Bachelor of Applied Management/Graduate Diplomas Level 7; New Zealand Certificate in Computing (Advanced User) L4; New Zealand Certificate in Computing (Intermediate User) L3; New Zealand Certificate in Information Technology Essentials L4; and New Zealand Certificate in Primary Production Management Level 5.

In addition to new programmes, CPIT Aoraki has increased the number of youth pathway places for regional Canterbury giving more 15 to 19 year-olds the chance to start training now for their careers. 

Dual enrolment programmes Secondary Tertiary Partnership funding (STP) will offer 13 Equivalent Full Time Students (EFTS) or 65 student places and Canterbury Tertiary College will offer an additional 10 student places for the Aoraki region in 2016. In Youth Guarantee there are an additional 50 EFTS or up to 100 places across the CPIT Aoraki region, which is potentially an additional 10 EFTS or 20 places in the Aoraki region.

According to the mission statement, the new organisation seeks "to be an exciting, relevant, contemporary, vibrant and viable contributor to individual and community prosperity throughout Canterbury by improving access, range of programmes and services and by becoming a destination for national and international students".

Canterbury Polytechnics to merge


Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce has today announced that Aoraki Polytechnic will merge with Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) to create a new larger tertiary institution that will provide Canterbury-wide access to high quality 21st -century vocational education.

"I considered a range of views in arriving at this decision, and believe merging the two tertiary education organisations will provide the highest quality tertiary education for learners, for the institutions, and for the region as a whole," Mr Joyce said.

"This decision is the result of eighteen months planning by the Councils of Aoraki Polytechnic and CPIT," Mr Joyce said. "I would like to commend both Councils on their work to build a new sustainable Canterbury-wide entity that will be able to support Cantabrians with quality skills & vocational training wherever and whenever they need it."

"The new Polytechnic will operate as a true regional entity focussed on delivering relevant skills for students and employers right across the region, including in Christchurch, Timaru, Ashburton and at Oamaru in North Otago. The Timaru campus will be upgraded and include a new centre of excellence focussing on the primary sector."

The new organisation will be operational for the 2016 academic year and initially trade under the name CPIT Aoraki. It is intended that a new name will be launched in the New Year.

Jenn Bestwick, the current Chair of CPIT will become the Chair of the new organisation, while Janie Annear, currently Chair of Aoraki Polytechnic, will become the new organisation's Deputy Chair.

A public consultation on the proposed merger drew 30 submissions. Seven were broadly neutral, ten were in favour and 13 disagreed with the proposal.

"The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) will work with both organisations to deliver on their merger implementation plan and ensure the new entity delivers seamlessly to current and new learners."

The Government invested $7.9 million in Aoraki in 2015 and $58 million in CPIT. The TEC will work with CPIT and Aoraki to finalise funding for the new organisation for 2016. This is likely to be confirmed in December.

"I expect that the new merged organisation will be a top performer in the New Zealand tertiary education system. I am also confident it will deliver even more effectively on the skill needs of the Canterbury region."

Public consultation on the proposed new organisation has closed


Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce received some 30 submissions on the proposal to create a new tertiary organisation for Canterbury.

The Minister is currently considering the submissions and will make a decision soon.

CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic public consultation now open


Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce is inviting the public to give feedback on the CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic joint Business Case which proposes to create a new tertiary organisation for Canterbury. Consultation closes on 14 September 2015.

For more information and to submit your feedback go to the TEC website.

CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic propose new tertiary organisation

Media release - 13/8/15

The Councils of CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic have today submitted a joint Business Case to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce, proposing that a new Canterbury-wide organisation be created.

The Councils have considered the skills requirements of the Canterbury region as a whole, the emerging issues in vocational and technical education and the opportunities for domestic and international expansion.

They have concluded that a new organisation would best be able to meet the needs of learners and industry; contribute to the regional economy and prepare graduates for employment locally and internationally with work-ready experience and skills.

The recommendation follows six months of exploring options for a sustainable future for vocational tertiary education in Canterbury. The process included seeking staff, student and stakeholder feedback, which was considered by both councils before the final recommendation was made.

CPIT Council Chair Jenn Bestwick was pleased with the process and outcome of the Business Case proposal. "I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to read our Report Back to Staff, Students and Stakeholders on the work to date, who attended forums at CPIT, asked questions and offered their feedback. I believe that through a robust process we have arrived at the best outcome for Canterbury, where CPIT and Aoraki can continue to innovate and expand their learning delivery in the framework of an exciting new organisation," she said.

This proposal builds on the strengths of both institutes; both provide high quality programmes and are strongly engaged in their local communities.

Aoraki was looking forward to a bright future as part of a new organisation. Aoraki Council Chair Janie Annear said learners were at the centre of the proposal. "We had been looking at the best way to respond to the needs of our learners and our community in a sustainable way with innovative quality 21st century regionally based education. What we have come up with is an innovative model, and I'm really excited by the opportunity of what it will achieve," she said.

On receiving the business case, the Minister will consider the proposal and seek public submissions before making a final recommendation.

Minimising impacts of student learning will be the highest priority should the new organisation go ahead. In the meantime students can continue to enrol in both CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic with full confidence in continued excellence of programme delivery and qualification relevance to local and international industries and sectors.

The future of tertiary vocational training for the wider Canterbury region


Aoraki Polytechnic and CPIT have been in discussions since late last year, exploring ways to work together for the benefit of the region. Both are looking to better meet the needs of learners and key local and national industries.

The institutes have considered:

  • the educational needs of the entire Canterbury region;
  • the regional economic contribution;
  • the financial sustainability of both institutes;
  • the legal and practical feasibility of the implementation of any changes.

CPIT is now consulting with staff, and engaging with students and key partners of both institutes to collect feedback about the preferred option.Business as usual.

While CPIT is exploring the best way to support Canterbury and New Zealand's economic development through excellent tertiary vocational training, we are as committed as ever to putting our students' learning first.

CPIT's priority remains to provide vocational training that is innovative, accessible, aligned to industry needs and supported by our communities.

Students can continue to enrol with either CPIT or Aoraki Polytechnic with full confidence that their education remains our highest priority, and of course our qualifications will continue to be recognised here and overseas.

Read the report to staff, students and stakeholders (PDF: 0.1 Mb) on the options explored and the preferred option.