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
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
UPDATE: From QPEC