NorthTec responds to skills shortage by looking to fire trades teachers

Posted By TEU on Mar 30, 2011 | 1 comment

Tertiary Update Vol 14 No 10

NorthTec is looking to make three carpentry and electrical engineering trades tutors redundant. The redundancies are a very possible result of an on-going review of the area, as NorthTec tries to cut budgets and save money.

Tertiary Education Union organiser Chan Dixon says it is saddening that NorthTec is looking to axe teaching staff from construction and engineering at the same time as Immigration New Zealand has revealed there are immediate skills shortages for these trades in Auckland and the upper North Island.

“With the Christchurch earthquakes and the recent disasters in Australia everyone knows we need more skilled trades people. And yet NorthTec is looking to make the very people who teach those new tradespeople redundant and is taking away opportunities for young Northlanders.”

Ms Dixon says cutting the number of trades tutors is part of a wider trend among polytechnics to cope with severely constrained budgets.

NorthTec already decided in February not to renew its contract with the Electrical Industry Training Organisation, with the result that all Northland apprentices now have to travel to Auckland for block courses which are integral to their training.

“NorthTec is responding to short-term funding constraints. But, by doing so, it’s undermining one of its main purposes – its job is to respond to future regional and national skills shortages.”

NorthTec will conclude its review and make a decision late next week.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Changes to compulsory student services levies
  2. Staff and student voice fades from polytechnic councils
  3. No ‘nice-to-haves’ in austerity budget
  4. Tertiary Education Commission defends performance funding

Other news

Unions affected by a planned restructuring of the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology say they have not been given enough time or information to put forward counter-proposals. The consultation period for the proposal, which would involve cutting management positions and combining IT support services with Otago Polytechnic, ended yesterday – just 11 days after the scheme was announced. If it goes ahead, up to seven jobs could be cut – Nelson Mail

A campaign by a top scientist urging overseas student loan debtors to repay their debts to help Christchurch has the backing of politicians, educators and the Reserve Bank governor. But one student has described the scheme as a “guilt trip” that will have little effect – Dominion Post

The government’s changes to the Employment Relations Act (ERA) and Holidays Act come into effect tomorrow. TEU has already negotiated agreements with a number of employers that state that many of these new provisions will not apply to TEU members employed by those employers.   It is also working with the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) to repeal these laws and replace them with fairer employment legislation.

The effects of the Christchurch earthquake are being felt in the export education industry as students cancel plans to study in New Zealand. A survey involving education agents in 20 different countries suggests New Zealand has already had a small downturn in the number of international students wanting to come here – New Zealand Herald

Australians will have direct access to the thoughts of some of the country’s brightest minds through a new independent news and information website, The Conversation. The not-for-profit service is backed by Australia’s leading universities, providing information, analysis, commentary and research news from their researchers and academics – The Herald Sun

Thanks to haydnseek @ Flickr for the photo

TEU Tertiary Update is published weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Tertiary Education Union and others. You can subscribe to Tertiary Update by email or feed reader. Back issues are available on the TEU website. Direct inquiries should be made to Stephen Day.


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