Aoraki Polytechnic’s investment plan means it could close its Dunedin-based courses including hairdressing and media.
TEU vice-president Phil Edwards says Dunedin students and employers regard Aoraki’s courses highly, and they are not offered by any other public providers in the city.
“We would be very concerned if the new polytechnic that emerged from the Aoraki-CPIT merger were to end these well-respected courses,” says Edwards.
Aoraki teaches about 180 equivalent full-time students in Dunedin and employs about 20 staff.
The Tertiary Education Commission has stated that it does not believe hairdressing courses are high priority as they do not offer good employment outcomes.
However TEU rejects this, saying it provides vital employment and business opportunities to many students, especially women looking for transferable skills.
The union wants to hairdressing retained at all Aoraki Campuses – Dunedin, Timaru and Christchurch.
“If Aoraki closes its Dunedin courses, the closest similar publicly provided courses for students in Dunedin will be in Invercargill. That’s too far away.”
Edwards say the union wants Aoraki or another public provider to guarantee all the Dunedin courses, and keep them open.
“They can’t pick and choose courses. These courses all provide real job skills to Dunedin people. If Aoraki cannot maintain them because they are too far away from its South Canterbury catchment area then another public provider, such as Otago Polytechnic, should step in to keep them all going.”
Edwards says that, as part of the merger consultation process, TEU is working on a second document to sit alongside its merger submission, specifically addressing how Aoraki and other tertiary providers can protect courses in Dunedin.