With New Zealand borders opening to international students, Whitireia and WelTec are readying for a new intake of 50 students from overseas.
“While Covid-19 has had an impact on international enrolments, our teams have continued to work closely with overseas institutions and ākonga (students), many of whom are increasingly looking for flexible, blended learning opportunities such as the ones we offer,” says Mark Oldershaw, chief executive of Whitireia and WelTec.
“As well as our key markets Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, China and India, we are proud to have been selected to partner with the Cook Islands in delivering tertiary qualifications where they have a gap in the market.
“This currently includes cyber security, which is not offered locally, and nursing where they have a skills shortage.
“With 40 students enrolled in the two Whitireia programmes in the Cook Islands, our tutors will spend blocks of two weeks in Rarotonga each semester, based at the University of South Pacific, with the remainder of the programme delivered online.
“Discussions are underway to roll out similar programmes in Samoa and Tonga.
“It is also heartening to see strong growth in our Chinese and Indian partnerships for joint delivery of programmes.
“For example, we have 100 students enrolled for our new China-based Bachelor of Information Technology in 2022. We also have 450 students in our two joint Digital Media programmes delivered online to China.
“There has been significant interest in our flexible post-graduate options. These are structured as ‘1 + 1’ Masters programmes where students (ākonga) study a year in their home country and then a year on campus in Aotearoa,” says Mr Oldershaw.
Two international students from India who have just graduated from Whitireia in these programmes are Jaspreet Sindhwani and Vriti Dhugga.
“We came to New Zealand in 2020 and it has been a very tough time for me, as my husband and son are in India and have not been able to come and see me,” says Vriti who has just graduated in a Masters of Management. “But the tutors from Whitireia have been absolutely amazing in helping me in every way, supporting me emotionally and with big decisions I have had to make, not only with my study.”
“My tutors were so kind to me and supported my move to Napier so that I could take up a job at Hōhepa as part of starting my residency and putting my study to work,” says Vriti, who is now a manager at Hōhepa.
Jaspreet heard about Whitireia before he came to New Zealand in 2020 through a friend in the education sector who recommended he apply.
“I loved that at Whitireia you felt part of a real campus, a real college,” says Jaspreet, who has just completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Management, and previously qualified as a mechanical engineer with an MBA in India. “I did not know anyone when I first arrived in New Zealand, but the friendly environment at Whitireia meant I made friends easily and it really helped my confidence.” Although already working in New Zealand and also applying for residency, Jaspreet is considering continuing his study at Whitireia.
Education New Zealand as well as Te Pūkenga, the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology have embarked on ambitious campaigns to attract international students such as Vriti and Jaspreet, and Whitireia and WelTec teams have also set off on roadshows to meet existing contacts.
The Government has indicated that they will allow 5,000 new international ākonga (students) into the motu (country) from the middle of the year. Alongside this, Government’s rebalanced visa system should streamline the visa process for ākonga looking to study in Aotearoa.