250 to 300 Job Losses at Unitec in Auckland

Written By: - Date published: 10:23 am, August 8th, 2015 - 84 comments
Categories: babies, business, capitalism, Economy, economy, education, jobs, manufacturing, monetary policy, national/act government, privatisation, Privatisation, Public Private Partnerships, quality of life, Social issues, tertiary education, trade, unemployment - Tags:

Unitec is resturcturing. Again. This is the third restructure in 15 years. Ok, they are not farmers. But of 1100 staff between 250 and 300 of them are losing jobs. That is a lot. This government is shrinking funding and directing tertiaries that if they are not able to match a Course to a job vacancy at the other end (directly or indirectly), they wont be funded for that course.That means fewer places for these staff to go in other institutions.

Unitec is becoming a factory for employers. Certain employers in certain industries. Jobs are important, of course. But what about a space for young people to grow and change, for creativity to be sparked, for older people to change direction and seek a new passion, and what about staff being critic and conscience of society? (Education Act – arguably doesn’t apply to Polytechnics). Steven Joyce did Zoology over 10 years during which time his interest in radio was sparked. Under his plan that can’t happen again.

The first to go are 60 non academic positions in Student services. Although under the new vision, students are now called customers.

The first to go will be 60 non-academic positions in student services. The polytechnic plans to outsource their jobs to a global private company, Concentrix.

The job cuts in student services (or “customer services” as Unitec referred to it) include student administration, student central and IMS helpdesk.

To my knowledge Unitec has always been different to other Technical Institutes and Universities in that it’s constitution provides that it cannot run at a loss. This has meant it gets , and to my knowledge has never sought, government bailouts for its overspending as others (especially Universities) have done. To that extent it has been closest to the “business model” much trumpeted by some.

If you look at Contentrix “industries” we have to assume that unitec’s student services fits into:

Government and Public sector;   or

Retail; or

Technology; or


Our Philosophy – we attack our clients’ challenges in their marketplace with speed, entrepreneurialism, investment and absolute agility. We are engaged in your business and invested in your outcomes.

Concentrix is a recognized leader in providing innovative services and technology to accelerate high-value interactions at every stage of your customer’s lifecycle.

We start every client relationship by asking one key question: What is your customer strategy?

Armed with the answer to this question, we partner with our clients to realize their strategies by providing solutions that maximize the value of every customer interaction, while driving revenue and reducing cost. Your brand is as important to us as it is to you.

Conentrix corporation  “About Us”

Customer service (student services) offered is here:

Academic roles are to be disestablished and other positions will go.  Unitec is carving up what was a beautiful 52 hectare campus in central Auckland and selling it off. The campus will be reduced to 10 hectares. Buildings, computers and some “facilitators”. Unitec believes that taking students out of the classroom will require less staff.

In the 18 months of trialling so far, the engagement required by staff in online delivery is turning out to be higher than in face to face. Students are saying they still prefer face to face (even if those classes involve multi media, Group work etc). Rick Ede (CEO) has told the staff that students don’t want that. Which customer is always right I wonder?

This is a big move to almost a 100% business model. The 2 main stakeholders in Unitec are descried as employers and students. In that order.

Despite my descension into old age and befuddlement I am not against change. Technology is changing learning and life at an extremely fast pace. But not change for the sake of saving money. In education their need to be sound pedagogical reasons and they need to be student (sorry, customer) centred. The young resist change too and they need to be nurtured through it. For that reason just because a student (oops customer) says they like the old way, doesn’t mean that ti is the best way. As always there is a danger of babies and bathwater.

I guess, like the previous 5 yearly restructures, we’ll know in 5 years…

NOTE: None of those involved in the new vision/idea/restructuring have lost their jobs.

Second note: Even John Key ditched “aspirational” 5 years ago





84 comments on “250 to 300 Job Losses at Unitec in Auckland ”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    Seems like once the economic position in Auckland improved the number of enrollments dropped off. That seems to be the core of their problem- especially for the trades training end of their ‘education offering’ ( got to be up with the newspeak!)

    I wonder how the satellite campus in Henderson ( is there any others?) is going ?

    • tracey 1.1

      To my knowledge Henderson is doing quite well. certainly the changes are also due to falling enrolments. The CEO has been trumpeting the better economy in NZ. the growing economy and the general great state o the economy which impacts enrolments. BUT that is not the only factor driving this… otherwise ALL tertiaries would be shedding staff, right?

      The thing about Henderson is it is for those customers wanting to do stuff like… health services… WHERE is the money in that? With a “must be ajob at the end of it” rationale for running a course, many of those courses will disappear for they will be employed in the public sector, which this government is hellbent on shrinking too.

      • dukeofurl 1.1.1

        I was thinking the polytechs are more vocational and as such a strong economy reduces enrolment. Combining them with a research university like Auckland only muddies the numbers.
        Add to that a place like Unitec is competing with other institutions, a similar situation would be UCOL and Massey.

        Is there any tables of student numbers which separate academic and trade enrolments.

        • tracey

          well… as you say it is defi itional… are nurses trades? medical imaging? and so on. Unitec is very vocational as you say. supposedly lower teacher customer ratios… more practice oriented… of course some occupations have registration boards so a qualification is a pre requisite in good or bad times.

          14000 trades due to leave chchch by 2017. i wonder where they will go.

      • Realblue 1.1.2

        Otago Polytechnic is also shedding staff. Around 40. Student enrolments in engineering and architecture have collapsed. This is despite the demand being high and jobs outnumbering graduates. Trade training areas ( welding. machining) are half what they need to be. Design has also suffered with very low enrolments. The problem is students don’t get directed or encouraged into sciences and engineering where the desperate need is. Government is throwing millions in funding into these areas, but if the secondary sector don’t guide students with those talents into these areas, what can you do? Class sizes in the sector are now below one academic for every 9 students. 1:16 covers costs, anything below that results in massive financial losses

  2. weka 2

    The war of ideology continues unabated.

    • tracey 2.1

      Education is just about creating little worker bees, right?

      We ALL pay for it, but the big employers get custom-made little bees…

  3. ropata 3

    Concentrix real “philosophy”:
    1. write some corporate PR fluff to delude our customers
    2. change some words around to sow confusion, giving the illusion of “change”
    3. students are not the real “customers”, they are commodities
    4. “customer service” is a cost to be minimized, just hire a few minimum wage slaves to do it

    • AmaKiwi 3.1

      “just hire a few minimum wage slaves to do it” No, get a voice activated computer program:

      Press 1 to pay by PayPal
      Press 2 to be charged for asking a question
      Press 3 if you want to shoot the Uni’s President
      For all other inquiries just fuck off.”

  4. grumpystilskin 4

    Education is now a business, even I know that.
    Of course it’ll be treated as such..

    • tracey 4.1

      and staff accordingly. Hence the Press got the press release about the total number of job losses about 90 minutes before the staff. As I understand some were rung by partners who heard it on the radio news at 1230pm and 1pm…. well before staff letters with the vision plan went out.

      Consider for a moment what it is like for a staff member who has gone through the previous 1 or 2 restructures inside 10 years…

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      And thus it will end up being destroyed.

      • AmaKiwi 4.2.1

        If it/they don’t make a profit, it/they should be destroyed.

        Source: NeoLiberal Theory of Government #101, Lesson #1

        • Tracey

          unless they are a university THEN they get protected… Afterall Universities are where this Govt is cherry picking academics to support their plans.

  5. JanM 5

    I think if this all gets much worse we will see the rise of grass/flax roots learning for its own sake like the guilds did ‘back in the day’ – that will be a positive result of this fiasco

    • tracey 5.1

      small employers cant afford to pay and train.

      • Brendon Harre 5.1.1

        Actually education is not a business. A long time ago an economics lecturer explained that education cannot be a private good in the same way that say food is.

        The argument goes like this. Slavery is illegal. An employee is free to work for whoever they like including themselves.

        If an employer invests money in educating an employee to improve productivity -in the same way they might invest money in machinery, software, buildings…. then that employee may take their new skills elsewhere for a higher salary. The new employer gets a more productive employee for a lower cost than educating them through their own business. The old employer incurs higher costs but gets no improvement in productivity.

        Because of this, no private employer invests in education.

        Education for improved productivity then becomes the responsibility of public sector.

        The question that needs to be asked about the Unitec restructuring is will it really help improve productivity in NZ firms? Or is there an alternative agenda?

        I would suggest that our current government has no idea on how to fix our economy. That the housing crisis, over dependence on milk powder exports and declining benefit from Christchurch earthquake insurance payments is about to expose how visionless they have been.

        In their desperation the Natz’s are undertaking increasingly irrational policies.

        • Pat

          and that economics lecture was amply demonstrated by the results of the 1980 and 90s reforms including the industry training programmes….which are costing our economy and general society to this very day….you only have to look at the construction industry to see how low the bar has become.

      • cricklewood 5.1.2

        To be honest there isn’t a lot of choice… The quality of training under the current model is sorely lacking at least in my industry. The current 12 month course is of little value in terms of preparedness for the work place etc.
        We need to get back to an hours based system in conjunction with the current unit standard approach. Apprenticeships are vital and finding a way to make that affordable for small employers possibly through subsidizing employers directly or a greater acceptance of apprentice rates with the govt paying some kind of student allowance during training.

        • tracey

          what is your industry and are you in Auckland

          • cricklewood

            Horticulture and yes Auckland based. That said I am a recent arrival to Auckland and the same problem exists nationwide. In short a qualification which used to be obtained on the job with a large hours component in conjuction with theory can now be obtained in less than 12 months at a polytechnic.
            To be honest it makes me angry in that young people are effectively lied to when they are told what the certificate will get them in terms of position and salary prior to their taking out $10000+ in student loans when the qualification has become almost worthless due to the brevity of the course.
            Unfortunately mine isn’t the only industry effected and to be frank it has become frightening with the ease in which you can obtain license to purchase and apply dangerous agrichemicals under the current arrangements…

            • Pat

              blame the ITOs….their funding is based totally on through put and what comes out the other end is a lottery and of no concern to them

              • cricklewood

                Yes the the training institutions are at fault but the system which allows it to happen is the real problem.
                Thet pump out graduates with qualifications at great expense in fields where there are very few jobs in some cases the number of successful professionals are outnumbered by the yearly graduates.

                • Pat

                  yes the system performs as it must by its design….a flawed design that was forewarned of at the time of implementation, they didnt listen then and they arnt listening now…those in control have too much to lose to allow it to be rectified

                • Molly

                  ITOs have input into the design of the system. They along with the Employers Association are stakeholders that get invited by MoE to discuss the development of the educational model.

            • Tracey

              me too @ lied. It’s aprt of the sales talk that has become polytechs. Say what you need to close the deal and then leave the poor lecturers to try to deliver… then when they can’t they get blamed for the failure

      • sabine 5.1.3

        I was trained and payed by a small employer.

        I was fifteen years old, had a three years apprentiship for a small business/retial certification and in my first year as a fifteen year old i was paid 250$ per month.
        I also was signed up for the german equivalent of the Kiwi Saver, received holiday pay, went to work four days a week and to school 1 day a week. I had my sickdays etc etc. Pay went up with each year of the apprentiship as did responsabilities and privileges.

        Currently my youngest staff turned 18 this year and she has been working with me now for 2 years, she is now trained in all aspects of coffee shop/chocolate shop work, including packaging and merchandising for Easter, Christmas, Mothersday, Valentines etc etc.
        My other Staff wanted to learn how to bake, so we trained her up on that, send her to do her Food Handling Course, and i am now looking at getting her into a programme that would allow her to certify her work experience.

        No, there are many buisnesses that could train apprenties but they won’t.

        Its obviously harder to train, than just shrug of the thought of the young ones not working and aquiring skills. However the young ones that aren’t fit for university, or that leave school on principe of the parents (i was taken out of school cause girls get married and shit, granted that was in the early 80, my brother was expected to earn money etc) will need some skills to function later in live, but maybe they are just the ones that we will write off as human surplus.

        Also remember that up unto the eighties, it was predominantly small businesses that trained staff, to fullfill their own staff needs, and to have someone to help with the business (i.e. Hairdressers – wash hair, broom floor, man reception, blow dry hair – stuff todo in the first two years of apprentiship before getting to cut/die and then sit two exams to proove one is good).

        Give me one good reason why our young ones should get into debt to be a Hairdresser, Waitress, have a certification for Retail/Accounting/Admin/Cook/builder/mechanic/welder etc etc etc.

        All these trades could be and should be learned on the job via an apprentiship.

        The hardest part about this tho would be to certify the Business Owners as capable enough to properly train according to a set curriculum.

      • Detrie 5.1.4

        I recall a cabinet minister in the 70s answering in parliament why there was such a huge turnover of public service trained trades staff (electricians, carpenters, technicians etc) to the private sector. Most leaving 1-2 years after qualifying. It had cost the govt a lot of money to train these people who were now lost.

        The response from the (national?) minister was that it was the role of the gov to train people for the private sector in this way, since they couldn’t afford it. Advanced training and apprenticeships was and is expensive. This Govt-sponsored training via the public sector with many then moving to the private sector was a key role of any government. How times have changed now that the public sector training has all but disappeared.

        p.s. Would the leaky homes nightmare (and immense costs) have occurred if the old state sector had remained and continued to provide the private sector with well-trained people back in the 80-90s? Going cheap on trades training has dire long term consequences often not apparent at the time.

    • Raf 5.2

      It will. Already being plotted and trialled in some circles that have no other choice.

      • ropata 5.2.1

        Definitely needed for STEM careers Raf.
        TV has filled kids heads with too much showbiz crap, they don’t know what real work looks like.



        There is a built-in prejudice or snobbery against any sort of manual work, even when great skill is involved. This has its origins in Europe and the developing countries, but it has spread to the “worker’s paradise” NZ. Families that have spent years scraping a living at ill- paid and insecure jobs, look to higher education as the best way for their kids to have a future.

        Perhaps that trend has gone too far and there is a huge vested interest in having more and more education without much regard for its usefulness.

        However supply and demand could easily turn things around quickly. We need more plumbers, electricians, and the less skilled labor we have, the more they will be paid. Not everybody is college material, instead of pretending everybody is, let’s help those who aren’t have successful careers.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    This government is shrinking funding and directing tertiaries that if they are not able to match a Course to a job vacancy at the other end (directly or indirectly), they wont be funded for that course.

    They have to do that for the same reason why they deny reality elsewhere – actual knowledge always disproves their beliefs. I recall that some research a while back was joyously funded by the GOP in the US. A couple of years later, once the preliminary results were in and it showed that the right-wing were wrong, they de-funded it. Looks like they’d really only funded it because they thought that it was going to prove them right and the Left wrong.

    Unitec is becoming a factory for employers.

    This is true. I’ve been thinking of shifting over to Auckland Uni to finish my degree there as the focus on jobs is, I believe, getting in the way of my education and interests.

    The first to go are 60 non academic positions in Student services. Although under the new vision, students are now called customers.

    Ah, outsourcing to save money which will end up costing far more with worse service as it always does.

    Government and Public sector; or

    Retail; or

    Technology; or


    Grabbing the best students ASAP for IBM. From what we’ve been told Concentrix is either an IBM partner or subsidiary although that doesn’t show up on the rather interesting company register:

    1. Directors: 2, both in California
    2. 1 shareholding in Ireland

    So a foreign owned and probably tax dodging company.

  7. Rosemary McDonald 7

    We all know that tertiary institutions are hotbeds of dissent and rebellion.

    Hard to organise the revolution when your interactions with your fellow students are through the institution’s website.

    • tracey 7.1

      and yet not all tertiaries are equal. govt holds unitecs funding feet to the fire while unis can churn out bcoms and lawyers into a saturated market…

  8. BLiP 8

    You know, National Ltd™ promised New Zealand better public services. The Crosby/Textor media line was “doing more with less by concentrating back-room services to release funds for building front line services”. Bullshit, of course. It was really about privatisation by stealth.

    When it comes to Education, John Key and his National Ltd™ mates have behaved like neanderthals. A perfectly workable public education system has been demolished and in its place stands a carnival of bright tents and amusement rides.

    Universities have long been under direct attack from the neoconservatives, the take over of the economics and business faculties was the first strike, followed very soon after by the arrival of student loans. The carving up of real property and “outsourcing” of services at Unitec is indicative of what’s to come across within the Tertiary sector but it is also happening across the entire public Education field.

    So, “better public services” when it comes to Education? Hardly. From top to bottom, Education in New Zealand has become worse and worse. Pretty much like all the public services, really.

  9. Brendon Harre 9

    “Unitec is carving up what was a beautiful 52 hectare campus in central Auckland and selling it off. The campus will be reduced to 10 hectares.”

    Is this restructuring more about the Crown making money from a “land grab” at the expense of its own citizens than about saving money on operating expenses from job restructuring?

    At first blush this looks similar to what is happening in Christchurch’s CBD.


    Read the articles about the convention centre, the IRD building and most importantly the Crown/Fletcher housing development.

  10. Ad 10


    But it’s an inefficiently laid-out landholding that could generate a whole bunch more houses for Aucklanders who need them.

    Next one to go will be the old Auckland Teachers’ College in Mt Eden. The University of Auckland is deep into plans to develop and sell it off into a massive multi-story commercial and residential development right in the middle of Mt Eden.

    Ditto much of the Uni’s old Tamaki Campus, once Auckland Council have bought a couple of sports fields.

    And just watch the MIT Otara site shrink fast, now that they have the far superior Manukau Centre site.

    All over Auckland, major tertiary education providers with big land holdings are wondering why they are sitting on a land capital gold mine, rather than trying to eke out a living from EFTS.

    • tracey 10.1

      what about cornwall park in epsom…

      • Ad 10.1.1

        Council is actively reviewing all its 14 golf courses as well.

        Transportblog covers the likely future of Chamberlain Golf Course which is over the road from Unitec.

        Any open green space that is not scheduled as formal Reserve status will be open to hard scrutiny for conversion into housing.

        The Unitec restructure is largely driven by real estate politics.

        • Mike the Savage One

          “Unitec is also undergoing a physical rebuild, with plans in place to create more modern learning spaces and sell off part of the 53.5 hectare Albert site to residential and commercial development.

          Dr Ede has said the institute could squeeze into 10ha of its site, selling or leasing the remaining 43ha in a 20- to 30-year scheme.”


          You are not wrong there, but it is also technological innovation and use of more modern technology in teaching and so, that is behind all this restructuring. As for their plans to sell or lease a lot of their land, it is not surprising they want to improve their returns through that, by having put in a submission on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, that supports much intensification. Like UNITEC there are also other education institutions, even churches, who promote intensification and rezoning for that, as they are all having their eyes focused on the many dollars they can gain out of future sales and development.

          With an irresponsible government, a misguided mayor in Auckland, and a Council wanting to have growth through more immigration, and little else, all this is likely to offer them windfalls, but it will not be for the better in the long-term, as more people means more demand for services, infrastructure, also social and other services, and that will bring costs and put pressures on the environment. Larger populations in large cities with dense and large buildings also tend to bring social problems, pollution and other negative consequences, as can be seen in other large cities in other countries.

          But as we have short sighted politicians, short sighted business operators (see the “gold rush mentality” in dairy farming investments) and too many short sighted in the population, enlightenment, common sense and a long term view are hard to find.

          • tracey

            Imagine if the land were freed up and state houses built? The people in that community would have Gladstone primary school and Unitec in their backyards. Student Health Services could be extended to those families… and SO handy… so could many facilities. By way of example Just Cuts is now on campus and is offering $5 haircuts for men…

            IF this land is for houses, they will NOT be affordable.
            Average price for 3 bedroom in
            Mt Albert $1,039,625 $488 (rent)
            as at June 2015
            climbing steeply

        • Tracey

          I hear you. I also read the Chamberlain park stuff on transport blog with interest.

        • Molly

          “The Unitec restructure is largely driven by real estate politics.”

          The cynic in me agrees with you.

          • Ad

            It’s just business.

            The CE needs to transform the business, so he’s cashing up the land as the fund to do it.

            Perfect sense while the Auckland land/housing boom is at such a peak.

            Bet the CE is running the ruler over the entire Akoranga Campus as well.

  11. Incognito 11

    The students are obviously not happy either and they are the “customers”!? http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/ED1508/S00027/risky-privatisation-not-the-answer-to-unitecs-pte-woes.htm

  12. Rodel 12

    Some students (sorry customers) at our local polytechnic complain bitterly that they pay big money to learn but are told to sit at a computer either at the institution or at home and they hardly ever see a real tutor face to face and having a real discussion about aspects of the course with a tutor is nigh impossible.

    An ex tutor at he same Polytechnic works for a company (forget the name) who has a contract with the MOE to develop this kind of ‘education’ not only in tertiary institutions but in schools as well. He sort of chuckled as he told me that teachers haven’t realised it yet.

    Bland words from the CEO verge on denial.

  13. millsy 13

    We shouldnt really blame Unitec for this, it is really the whole tertiary training system that is broken, and has been broken for a long time. It is a pity that Little hasn’t made this a central issue of of his 3 year campaign.

    People forget that the student loan system was originally set up to be similar to a voucher system, where by students would burrow for their fees and pay them to a uni or polytech or PTI that would compete for their enrolment, who would be paid according to the roll number. Effectively a free market. That is why we have unit standards, so any old bugger could pick a few unit standards, set up a school and watch the cash roll in.

    Half of these courses arent even worth the paper their are written on.

    • BLiP 13.1

      But what say Education is a public service, not a commercial enterprise?

      • tracey 13.1.1

        nothing has a social value under this govt. it only has an economic value.

        • BLiP

          ” . . . I argue that there is something else about neoliberalism that we really need to attend to, which is the way it operates as a whole form of reason. By that, I mean that it is an understanding of the world and of the human beings within it as nothing but markets — and an understanding of human beings as fully reducible to market actors. Everything we do and everything we are, we are simply acting as market creatures. This is what is really novel about neoliberalism, because classic economic liberalism understood us as behaving as market actors in markets but then going off and behaving differently in domains of ethics or politics or religion or family life and so on . . . “

          ^^^ QFT

          • tracey

            i wonder if Fran will ever apologise to jane kelsey for her hysterical attack in 2012?


            • Rodel

              Tracey- Thanks for that link
              Gordon Campbell writing about Professor Kelsey puts it in a nutshell:
              ” She (Kelsey) seems to see her role as being to challenge the false consensus on the Trans Pacific Partnership, and thus contribute to one of the key debates in society – which is what universities did for hundreds of years before being taken over by the bean counters of the neo-liberal market economy. ”

              University academics who used to be major contributors to social debate are now timid mice, afraid to lose their jobs. Well done Mr Joyce and co.

              I admire Jane Kelsey as much as Rodney Hide(remember him anyone?) says he despises her.

              • Tracey

                Me too. When i read Campbell’s article from 2012, I couldn’t help but have Dr Mapp in the back of my mind.

          • tracey

            we are are all just little walking dollar signs. some bigger than others.

          • AmaKiwi


            NeoLiberalism is NOT a philosophy. It is a marketing campaign by the 1%.

            The purpose of a marketing campaign is to convince us to buy something we do NOT need and which is NOT good for us but is highly profitable for the seller.

            Don’t waste time arguing about the NeoLiberal message. Look at the creeps who are selling it. Think drug dealers. Cigarette companies. Etc.

        • AmaKiwi

          Tracey: +1

          “nothing has a social value under this govt. it only has an economic value.”

  14. tracey 14

    “If they want us to be more directive, I’m more than willing,” Joyce said. “I’m watching them really closely to make sure they do respond to what the market wants, and if they don’t, I can go and tell them how many they should enrol for each department.”

    Nothing is by accident. More below. Note the date.


  15. rod 15

    It’s all part of the brighter future folks. Plenty more to come from slippery inc.

  16. Charles 16

    When I was at “Trade School” which is pretty much what Unitech is (Carrington Polytech before it) , it was always accepted that “Technical Institutes” were the theoretical arm of employers. The courses reflected that. It’s a crap idea (for above reasons e.g. “guilds”), but at the time it was better than nothing, because my boss and his friends weren’t teachers – that’s for sure.

    I can believe it being about grabbing prime city land, rather than education, because these trades schools seemed a bit light on the education, at times (no offence to the tutors – who knows what sort of restrictions/limitations they had to reconcile), but knowing what it was and seeing it come to this end, it comes as no real surprise. It was always going to end this way: A crap (symptomatic?) idea, with specific and limited success, that naturally burned out. Even the idea of apprenticeships was a bit crap, for all the good it did. Just a precurser to the final stages we have now. All these ideas (the way in which they were applied here) are well and truly within the confines of a capitalist cycle first struggling to estabilsh itself, and then entering decline.

    I can only hope that the Nats ideas “burn out” – and they will, the signs are already there that they don’t even want their supporters; and neoliberalism as a whole seems to have just entered it’s burn-out phase. Bummer for the jobs of the tutors, I guess, their present reality can’t be ignored, but this is a symptom of change within a larger cycle.

    Money (profit/choice) and Education, like Church and State: two things that should not mix. To my mind, something is wrong with the idea that a 15 year old can “choose” to become a professional [anything], get some cash (loaned or not) to pay other people to make him/her one, and go from there, out into the World and generally screw the place up for private (theirs or corporate) profit.

    It’s all ass about head, to me, and I’m not sure if it is a function of modern city life compared to scattered ancient villages, or not, but if we started treating people as a unique value, instead of potential basic units, a value suitable for a specific application, and tilted the focus of methods of “education” on discovering that value instead of just saying, “Oh well you choose what you want to be… you can be anything at all if you want to be… ” and ultimately condemning 90% of them to wage/slavery, then all aspects of our world would change pretty drastically.

    • McFlock 16.1

      The distinction between universities and polytechs has always not just been about class, but also the type of learning. Initially universities did professions and polytechs did trades. University degrees would be broad and touch on the philosophy and history of a discipline, not just the how-tos. Polytechs would be mostly how-tos.

      As an example, food science is currently being reamed by my own university. But the thing is that cooking in polytech might teach you how to make fifteen types of custard, but at university you could double-major with chemistry or similar “pure” science so you could really knock yourself out thinking about protein chains and how to manipulate them as part of the cooking process. Or you can come out of polytech an outstanding welder, but a university trained engineer will supervise the trusses that are welded and now what can substitute for them.

      The trouble is that universities have become more focussed on putting out “useful” graduates who can cook okay (but maybe not be able to do chemistry so well), so that squeezes out polytechs even though they might turn out better cooks.

      And a unitech has always been a sort of mongrel idea that came about so that tertiary institutions could be as “aspirational” as individuals (read: you’re fucked when you fail).

      • tracey 16.1.1

        more teaching focused than lecture focused. we have too many unis… techs and pte. if we were a city of 4.5 m then there would not be this many. like ports and sports stadium we suffer for our regionalism.

        tertiary are forced to compete for a finite pool. accordingly otago victoria canterbury have recruiting offices in queen st auckland.

        it is a mess and this govt has decided their market vision rules. even the areas they will find, science and engineering are graduating more than there are jobs… and what KInD of scientist is this govt encouraging given their indirect gagging of the sector?

  17. Gruntie 17

    Guess who the Chair of Unitect is – Lee Mathias aka National Party stooge doing Joyces work

    • tracey 17.1

      the Ceo speaks more of the strong economy than of his staff… his speeches are shareholder addresses… and it is clear staff dont count as shareholders.

  18. upnorth 18

    Are you seriously getting upset by this – they have been more interested in spending money on hosting and housing the Blues and Auckland Rugby – now they are moving – why did the unions work hard to keep these sports teams there? I might be wrong but the strategy was deliver sports science courses.

    Can anyone clarify?

    • Tracey 18.1

      They didnt spend money on hosting the Blues. That arrangement was mutual, training field, plus building space and existing gymnasium in return for opportunities for placements from the students at the Sport Department and other mutual learning stuff includng Blues players doing Unitec-wide Courses/Diplomas/Degrees. It took Unitec YEARS to even paint the bleachers or put hoardings so they could get exposure when Blue’s were reported on the news.

      In the beginning it was pure prid quo pro, not a monetary exchange. That may have changed in more recent years.

      To my knowledge the “unions” had nothing to do with the Blues going to Unitec or keeping them there. Can you clarify that?

  19. To be fair, polytechs are supposed to provide vocational training so it’s entirely reasonable for a government to expect them to turn out graduates who are useful at some kind of job. That said, in an economy with chronic skill shortages, it makes no sense to be cutting funding to tertiary institutions providing vocational training.

    The real giveaway in the story is the shift from students to customers. Students are owed an education, but customers get what they’re willing to pay for. That’s National’s long game in the tertiary sector (the short game is seeing to it that tertiary institutes consider themselves subordinate to Stephen Joyce – if anything, the long game is less offensive).

    • Tracey 19.1

      as opposed to universities which just talk at students for 50 minutes and turn out people who have no particular jobs to go to (except lawyers, engineers, accountants)… they get full ongoing funding… THAT is part of my point.

      Have a peek at the value of the past bailouts of our universities, based entirely on a kind of intellectual snobbery, hundreds of millions of dollars. Unitec on the other hand has needed no such bailout due to cutting to fit its cloth…

  20. Mike the Savage One 20

    It proves to me yet again, that this government, and their preferred managerial servants in the public service, same as in tertiary education, do simply want performing robot like humans, all geared to lick up the laissez faire capitalist dogma and approach as the supposed salvation for society.

    The last decades have already turned most people into competing, robot like mercenaries, in some cases “business operators”, even if they are mere courier drivers or technicians working for whatever company (sole contractors or operators).

    With tertiary education, they are forming the minds of young people to “fit” the model mercenary with a pure capitalist, competitive mindset, where team work is reduced to achieving the best in a project team of players.

    Jobs are going to be hard to find though, with increased technical innovation, with the IT technology being used to do more and more, from accounting, to customer services and so forth.

    The “human” component is being abolished, and it is cynical at best to call students “customers” now, it would be more honest to call them “units” or “trainee units” as they will be mere wheels in some larger systems, here and there, no matter what they will be doing.

    I dread the future, as what I see around me is dreadful and depressing enough already, people often not even talking face to face anymore, as they constantly stare at smart phone or table screens, and shy to even look you in the face.

    It is all too much like what George Orwell described in his book 1984 what I see coming to us.

    • Tracey 20.1

      Speaking of 1984

      You would have loved the Unitec speeches from the Throne then, beamed live into various rooms… and a high level executive member looking like a storm trooper..

  21. keyman 21

    why train a local when you just bring in a foreign worker
    i counted 10 car window washers at intersection of penrose road and the great south.
    not in training wheres there brighter future i guess on plus side there doing it tax free

  22. Tracey 22

    governments historically make a call on needed trades too late resulting in a surplus at the wrong time…

  23. ropata 23

    In principle, no government funded org should outsource any function to a foreign owned corporation. Kiwis first FFS.

  24. Louise 24

    The link below describes this brave new world of “vocational education”:


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