Ara Chief Executive retirement announced

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Kay giles head shot

01 Feb 2017

After 40 years in the tertiary education sector Kay Giles, Ara Chief Executive, is to retire on 30 June 2017, it was announced to Ara staff today.

“Kay was appointed Chief Executive at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) in 2010 just weeks before the September earthquake. Since then she has not only successfully steered CPIT through the business recovery period that followed but has overseen the establishment of a new organisation, Ara Institute of Canterbury, which brought together CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic,” says Jenn Bestwick, Chair of Ara Council, in announcing Kay’s retirement to Ara staff.

“Thanks to Kay’s leadership, Ara’s performance has gone from strength to strength.  She leaves behind an impressive legacy; consistently excellent student educational achievements, sustained financial surpluses, the oversight of an ambitious $120 million building programme that is creating more modern and flexible learning spaces across all Ara campuses, greater innovative delivery of vocational education and training that firmly focuses on student needs and a significant contribution to the regional and national tertiary education sector.

“In the seven years Kay has been in this role she has been driven to ensuring the best possible educational outcomes for all Ara students and that the vocational training offered by Ara is relevant to today’s workplace and industry needs in the Canterbury region and beyond. The Ara Council has valued the strategic insights, professionalism, good humour and commitment to students and staff that Kay has brought to the role over the years and the significant contribution she has made in strengthening our governance decisions.

“While we’re very sad to be losing Kay, we’re obviously very happy for her and Barry and wish them all the very best as they return to Australia and head into retirement,” Bestwick concluded.

With the appointment of EQI Global management consultancy, the search for Giles replacement has now begun.

Biographical notes:

  • Giles was appointed Chief Executive at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology in August 2010
  • Giles oversaw the establishment of Ara Institute of Canterbury (the merging of CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic) - launched 30 March 2016
  • Prior to joining Ara, Giles was Institute Director at SkillsTech Australia, the trades and technician institute in the Brisbane metropolitan area. Also in Australia, she held management and directorship positions at the Department of Employment and Training; the Open Learning Institute; the Wide Bay Institute of TAFE and Wide Bay/Sunshine Coast Region TAFE, Training and Employment Queensland (TAFETEQ).
  • Giles holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and a Master of Social Planning and Development from the University of Queensland.