Life membership for Craig West.

Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union has awarded life membership to Otago Polytechnic’s Craig West.

Westy, as he is affectionately known, has been the Branch President of the Otago Polytechnic branch since 2011, however he was heavily involved in the branch committee prior to his election. In his time as branch president, Craig has built a committee that is representative of all of Otago Polytechnic’s Schools, campuses, and departments.

Craig has also passionately worked to erase the academic and allied staff barrier that has often existed at the Polytechnics. Many allied staff have named him as the reason they joined the TEU.

An active recruiter, a visible presence around campus and a trend-setter – Craig has established a culture of unionism and collectivity across the branch.

Craig has been a leader in the rainbow network in the Union as well as a leader among branch presidents, often given speaking roles at branch president hui or at conferences.

Craig’s strongest skillset is in showing awhi towards those who are taking on leadership roles in the branch, in networks or in national committees and council. Otago Polytechnic is represented across every TEU national committee and National Council. Many Otago Polytechnic representatives have been actively supported by Craig to take on, or continue, in these roles for many years.

Craig’s passion for education originates in community. In a small office in Hillside Road, South Dunedin, not far from his house, Craig supported young students, second-chance learners, solo mums, workers from the industrial buildings in the area, to see that they too could strive for a qualification.

He pushed people to see that their life experience was at times a better teacher than the schooling system, but that the Polytechnic offered them opportunities too. Craig’s passion for education springs from community, his leadership in the union has made community within unionism a focus.

The Otago Polytechnic branch has over 430 members. The branch has seen year on year growth in membership and it is the 8th largest branch in the Union, and the largest Polytechnic branch by far – in no small part due to Craig’s hard work and dedication.