Learning for a ‘work-ready, world-ready’ future

Viticulture and wine-making is one of the specialist programmes offered at NMIT with others including aquaculture, maritime, aviation engineering, and conservation.

““We want our graduates to be not only work-ready but also world ready, resilient and able to adapt to an ever changing workplace.””

Liam Sloan

Founded in 1905, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology has a proud track record of achievement and is today one of the nation’s high performers in tertiary education.
Programmes offered are designed to meet the needs of the job market with many world-class qualifications offered from certificate to degree and postgraduate level, including masters.
Key specialities are: aquaculture, maritime, aviation engineering, conservation and viticulture and wine-making with popular programmes spanning nursing, business, trades and Master of Applied Management.
With a presence across the region, NMIT has campuses in Richmond, Nelson Central, Marlborough and RNZAF Base Woodbourne.
“We want our graduates to be not only work-ready but also world ready, resilient and able to adapt to an ever changing workplace,” says chief executive Liam Sloan. “We have around 7500 learners studying at NMIT, of whom about 1400 are international students. We’re also the third largest employer in the region.”
Minister of Education Chris Hipkins announced plans last year to create a unified vocational education and training system.
This year, NMIT aims to front foot the changes by seeking national recognition as a Centre for Vocational Excellence for Primary Industries.
“Despite the reform of vocational education, we’re really excited about our future and the role we play supporting learners into sustainable employment and therefore encourage people to continue to enrol and support this high performing regional ITP,” says Liam.
While noting that static funding from central government over the past decade has been a significant challenge for NMIT, he says that due to the grit and determination of their committed team of professionals, this has not held back NMIT’s performance.
Based on the Tertiary Education Commission’s 2018 performance rankings, the institute is at the top of its field for course completion by all students.
“We have an exceptionally high standard of teaching and supportive networks with local employers and businesses.
“As well, we have a number of performance based research funded researchers who are nationally recognised for excellence and, in turn, this influences our programmes and ensures they are up to date, current and relevant. We’re committed to strengthening our research as an institution.”
In November 2018, the Mahitahi Colab was launched at NMIT with the Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA) and the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce also on board as founding partners.
A coordinator was recruited last year to facilitate its work. Links between NMIT and local businesses are growing as a result, with students assisting with various real life projects, from website design to rebranding.
An exciting development has been the creation of New Zealand’s first collegiate business consultancy, Pareto Business Solutions that draws on the talents of industry experienced masters students to solve challenges for local businesses.
“This is Mahitahi’s biggest achievement to date. It’s all about creating networks and giving students that link to potential future employers and building their experience,” says Liam.
“One current project is with Port Nelson. Those involved are not seen as students but as consultants and it is paid work for them.”
Another regional development initiative that NMIT is actively engaged with, along with the NRDA, is the Nelson Tasman Innovation Neighbourhood, which has a focus on attracting and retaining talent in the region. It is opening up new partnership and networking opportunities for all involved. For example, NMIT and Nelmac plan to share a graduate intern this year, from which the graduate will gain valuable HR experience.
“It’s a way for NMIT to give something back to its community, while splitting costs involved and sharing resources,” says Liam.
“It’s enabling us to share common problems and come up with shared solutions and opportunities. There are multiple benefits from it.”
At the 2019 Economic Development New Zealand conference, the NRDA won a best practice award for collaboration on behalf of the Nelson Tasman Innovation Neighbourhood.
The initiative was praised for showcasing how partnerships based on high levels of trust, a long term commitment, and the ‘better together’ principle can achieve remarkable things.

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