Some jobs saved, but more needed for polytechnics
TEU members at WelTec and Whitireia stood up to ensure quality and accessible education for communities across the
Wellington region but are demanding better from their Chief Executive, management, their Commissioner, and the
Over the last month members of the Tertiary Education Union | Te Hautū Kahurangi employed at WelTec and Whitireia have
been making submissions on proposed cuts to over 70 jobs across the two institutions.
They have saved 20 jobs through their efforts which means students will be keeping courses and programmes of study that
they would have otherwise lost.
TEU organiser Dan Benson-Guiu says “We don’t want any jobs going, but our efforts have at least ensured that students
will continue to have access to a range of quality courses and the academic staff who lead them.”
However, we are angry that areas of priority education and training to meet the needs of communities have been
undermined by the announcement of job cuts today.
Benson-Guiu says “Areas where there have been irresponsible cuts are in creative, counselling, addictions and youth
“Given the government’s well-being budget included plans to increase the professional workforce needed to tackle the
high level of mental health and addiction problems in New Zealand, we are angry that major cuts are happening in the
Addictions, Counselling and Youth Development programmes,” says Benson-Guiu.
“We still want a proper explanation as to why the management and the Commissioner at Whitireia aren’t on board with
contributing to this national goal.”
Another area that staff plan to keep pushing back on is cuts to early childhood education.
Earlier, staff successfully petitioned the employer to maintain the early childhood courses for a year, which is crucial
for current students. However, the staff are now concerned about future learners and will continue to seek stability in
early childhood courses, an industry where there is a skills shortage.
TEU National President Michael Gilchrist says management and the commissioner need to think again – with support from
"It’s not just the management and Commissioner who need to step up. It’s the government. It’s simple, the funding model
has to change if we want all New Zealanders to have access to highly trained professional in all areas – health,
engineering, teaching,” says Gilchrist.
These types of cuts compromise the government plans to have stronger vocational sector through its current reform.
That’s why they must step up.
Gilchrist says “Everyday we see the positive impact that vocational education and training has in our communities. The
moves to change the way the sector is structured will not be enough to keep communities like the Hutt and Porirua well
served with educational opportunities.”
“Above all we must keep enough quality staff in the current vocational system. Despite the courageous efforts of our
members, these cuts go too far and too deep. If you want an education system to meet the Tertiary Education Strategy
goals released this week, which places learners at the centre, having barrier free accessible and quality teaching –
then you have to keep quality staff in the current vocational system.”