Before signing-off on an agreement for Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre to take-over the Telford division of Lincoln University, Ministers must make sure a properly funded long-term plan is put in place to ensure continued provision of training opportunities in the region, the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) said today.
A statement of intent for the takeover was signed between Lincoln University and Taratahi back in January, but it has taken until now for an agreement to be reached between the two parties and the Telford Farm board of management. The agreement has been handed to a number of Ministers and government agencies for consideration, with a final decision expected in July. Taratahi posted losses of close to $400,000 last year, highlighting the importance of ensuring a properly funded plan is put in place.
Sandra Grey, national president of the TEU, said:
“Losing the Telford campus altogether looked to be a possibility at one stage, so we are pleased to see a way forward. However, National’s track record of failing to adequately fund regional tertiary education provision does give us some cause for concern. If Ministers approve this agreement, they must back it up with a properly funded plan that guarantees locally-focused, quality training opportunities for current and future generations of students.
“Before approving the agreement Ministers also need to be mindful of the fact that the learning environment at Telford will only ever be as good as staff’s working environment. Keeping the collective agreement Telford staff are currently employed under is, therefore, a priority. We also expect all new staff to be covered by the collective agreement, and that future settlements between staff and the new management do not erode these terms.”