South’s polytech enrolments surge

Jessie-Lee Marsh, here with a compression testing machine, will start a diploma in civil...
Jessie-Lee Marsh, here with a compression testing machine, will start a diploma in civil engineering on Monday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
From getting into beekeeping to carpentry and horticulture, hundreds of extra students have signed up for vocational learning at Otago Polytechnic and the Southern Institute of Technology.

Second-semester enrolments are up at both southern tertiary education providers.

The Government’s Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF) has helped them attract more students and some are retraining after their careers were disrupted by fallout from Covid-19.

"Otago Polytechnic’s second semester vocational enrolments are up more than 400 compared to the same time last year,” polytechnic chief executive Megan Gibbons said.

The polytechnic is almost 7% above its budgeted numbers for domestic equivalent full-time students in 2020.

"We have expanded programmes across our Dunedin and Central Otago campuses," Dr Gibbons said.

Demand for carpentry and engineering courses is up.

"Our Cromwell campus has experienced significant increased demand for primary sector programmes, including horticulture and apiculture."

TTAF is a $320million programme that targets support for particular areas of study and training, as New Zealand works to recover from the economic impact of Covid-19.

The fund was a significant factor in Jessie-Lee Marsh’s decision-making.

She graduated from Otago Polytechnic with an applied management degree last year but making headway in her career after that was difficult amid Covid-19.

Miss Marsh (24) said her partner, Niko Trbuhvic, was studying civil engineering and it was an area of great interest to her.

"He was selling the course to me the whole time," she said.

Miss Marsh had come to realise she wanted to get into project management and civil engineering offered opportunities there.

However, she was wary of taking on loan debt but the fund made her decision simple.

"This came at the best possible moment for me."

She will start her New Zealand diploma in civil engineering on Monday next week.

The Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) has had a 4% increase in enrolments on the corresponding time last year.

The highest growth is in distance learning, up 23%.

Trades appeared to be increasingly popular, an SIT spokeswoman said.


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