In its first year as a new organisation, Ara Institute of Canterbury has expanded provision to South Canterbury, introduced postgraduate qualifications and returned a $6.8m surplus.
Ara, which was formed following the merger of Aoraki Polytechnic and CPIT at the beginning of 2016, has just released its Annual Report for 2016. The results indicate that the merger has increased the capacity of both former institutes and that Ara is progressing its goal to extend its range of programmes, and improve access to training, for the entire Canterbury region.
“In a landmark year for our institutes, staff have worked hard to implement the transformation of the new organisation with many levels of operational alignment achieved,” Chief Executive Kay Giles states in the report. “This was no small task with three campuses, nine sites, 1000 staff and 16,000 students. However I am pleased to report that with careful planning and teamwork this has been accomplished relatively seamlessly.”
In South Canterbury, Computing For Free was introduced to Timaru, Oamaru and Ashburton to give South Canterbury learners access to basic computing and professional upskilling programmes. A range of Pasifika Trades Training and He Toki Trades training has been introduced to southern campuses, providing fee-free trades training in trades and other areas such as cookery and foundation studies.
The Bachelor of Business Management was also introduced to Timaru campus, giving South Canterbury students access to level 7, degree, qualifications for the first time, so that learners can study higher level qualifications in their region.
Work continues to align programme design to industry and community needs. “Over the past two years Ara has reviewed its portfolio of programmes, developing and redesigning 95 programmes. Our programmes are designed to be relevant to the community and are cutting edge in terms of content and delivery methods, resulting in outstanding outcomes for students and employers.
“Industry, student and community input is sought ensuring programmes reflect the latest thinking, practice and examples,” Giles states in the report.
Ara Council Chair Jenn Bestwick was confident the new organisation had achieved good recognition since being rebranded as Ara in March 2016.
“We have set our aims high. Already we have achieved widespread awareness of our new name and direction and excellent commitment from our staff to deliver to our vision and ambitious targets. We are working closely with our partners to achieve key developments for Christchurch such as the Health Precinct’s Health Research and Education Facility and the ICT Graduate School – Signal,” she states.
Ara introduced its first post graduate qualifications, the Master of Nursing and the Master of Health Science in 2016 and approved the Ara Sustainability Charter, committing the organisation to more sustainable operations and to graduating students across all sectors who are leaders in sustainable practice.
Other highlights included achieving the highest result in the External Evaluation Review conducted by the NZQA, five major building projects underway and expanding international relationships.
Ara Annual Report 2016: http://www.ara.ac.nz/about-us/publications/corporate-documents-and-annuals-reports