Funding sought to sustain Study Queenstown

The future of Study Queenstown is in limbo after Destination Queenstown decided to cut its manager role.

In a submission to the Queenstown Lakes District Council's annual plan hearing last week, Study Queenstown manager Aaron Halstead said his role ended on June 30 and the office would be "without a home".

He told councillors the regional tourism organisation had decided education did not "fit within its mandate", and asked them to approve funding of $130,000 a year for two years to assure its future.

The office was set up inside Destination Queenstown in 2015 to promote the resort's education providers after Education New Zealand offered funding for regional development.

Mr Halstead told the Otago Daily Times he hoped to work under a model similar to Film Otago Southland's in which he would be a contractor to an external governance board.

The office was no longer just a "shopfront" for promoting the resort's education providers, and he was increasingly working at the interface of education and economic development.

He wanted to keep working with the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce, council and industry training organisations to attract new talent to the district and create educational opportunities to keep those people there.

Destination Queenstown (DQ) chief executive Graham Budd said the council was now a more "natural fit" for Study Queenstown's function.

Education New Zealand funding expired at the end of next month, and the office's role was now one of product development.

"That, along with the council now having an economic development function in-house, leads to the logic that the right home for it is within council.

"We had to say this role is going to stop in DQ, and it's then entirely up to the council, of course, whether the role, or a contract role, will be adopted.

"I'm very much hoping the council buy into the opportunity for them to adopt it, and I'm sure it's got a lot of support."

Mr Halstead had done a "terrific" job in establishing the office's function and had built his capability, Mr Budd said.

"It goes beyond Queenstown - he's now known as our regional representative for study from a national perspective."

The council will adopt its 2019-20 annual plan on June 30.


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