Sandra Hazlehurst, Rex Graham, Alex Walker, Mark Oldershaw, Bill Dalton and Craig Little have all signed a submission to try to keep EIT’s regional autonomy. Photo / Paul Taylor

All of Hawke’s Bay’s local body leaders have joined together to lobby the Government to ensure that Eastern Institute of Technology remains open and a vital part of the region.

“What we want is to be able to have the region determine the region’s needs, rather than a central body determining our needs,” EIT deputy chief executive Mark Oldershaw said.

Under the Government’s Review of Vocation Education (ROVE) proposal, all 16 of the country’s polytechnics and institutes of technology will be incorporated into one national skills and training entity.

Oldershaw said the joint submission showed the importance EIT has in the region.

“It’s a pretty strong show of unity around the regional education in our region,” Oldershaw said.

He said that the importance of EIT in Hawke’s Bay is something they don’t want taken from the community.

“We also want to protect the EIT brand, which I think is legitimately at risk and EIT is a very important part of Hawke’s Bay and we don’t want the region to lose it.”

Oldershaw said while others like it may have struggled in recent years, EIT has taken off.

“We have had record student numbers both domestic and international – we’re stronger then we have ever been in our 42-year history and we don’t want any threat to that.”

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the region’s buoyant economy needed a skilled workforce “to maximise every opportunity that comes our way”.

“EIT has been flexible and nimble over years to adjust to our community’s needs and it must retain that autonomy.”

She said the creation of a Hastings campus set up last year in response to transportation issues for Hastings-based learners was just one of the of the reasons.

“We had a problem and EIT came up with the solution and the campus is almost too small already and it’s only one year. The demand is definitely there.”

Chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Secondary Schools’ Principals’ Association and principal of Taradale High School Stephen Hensman said the success that EIT had shown with its Trades Academy was a case in point.

The Academy takes Year 12 and 13 students for work experience in various trades one or two days a week for the full school year.

“We have more students going on to tertiary study at EIT than any other tertiary study,” Hensman said.

The joint submission also notes that within the ROVE proposal there is a commitment to locate the centralised functions of the new system in one or more of the regions.

In response, the Hawke’s Bay leaders state that Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti regions have the appropriate capabilities to host one or more of these functions.

Submissions to the proposal are open until April 5.

Source: Hawke’s Bay Today

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