Polytechnic restructuring affecting 25

Restructuring at Otago Polytechnic could affect 25 staff.

The proposal, if confirmed, would result in a reduction of 3.4 equivalent full-time positions.

Some roles would be disestablished, others created and reporting lines for some would change.

The affected teams are EduBits, the chief executive’s office, learner services, the Otago Brew School, and marketing, sales and communications.

Otago Polytechnic chief executive Megan Gibbons said the proposed restructuring would help the organisation "best meet our future needs".

Dr Gibbons said restructuring was not proposed as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. It was also not a consequence of the Otago Polytechnic having to work under the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology after this year’s merger of polytechnics and institutes.

Staff were being supported by the polytechnic’s people and culture team, unions and an employee assistance programme.

"Although a number of roles are proposed to be disestablished, those affected have the opportunity to make submissions on the proposals. There are a number of new positions and responsibilities on offer," Dr Gibbons said.

"I have urged all staff to be understanding and supportive in their dealings with the affected team members."

The proposal follows confirmation of 14 redundancies at the polytechnic’s Auckland campus, catering to international students.

"This was done in partnership with Future Skills," Dr Gibbons said, referring to the polytechnic’s Auckland partner. "The affected staff are not Otago Polytechnic employees."

Dr Gibbons said the Auckland decisions were made independently of those affecting staffing levels at the polytechnic’s Dunedin and Cromwell campuses.

"We are still assessing the impact of the drop in international student numbers and the implications regarding any positions directly linked to international activities at our Dunedin and Cromwell campuses.

"We are operating in a highly dynamic environment."

The Cromwell campus had unprecedented demand for some programmes, she said.

This followed the Government’s announcement that fees would be axed for some courses, as people retrained amid fallout from Covid-19.

"There has been massive interest in certain primary sector programmes, including horticulture, which could help offset the loss of immigrant workers in the Central Otago region."



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