Unitec job losses loom

Last updated 15:52 21/11/2013

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Staff at Unitec at Auckland are being prepared for job losses with a shake-up in one of its most popular faculties.

As part of a restructure, at least 50 positions in the design and visual arts department will be disestablished, leading to job losses for more than half the department's staff.

Unitec has been in consultation about the restructure since August. It now plans to create 17 new positions which will cater to 560 students.

The Tertiary Education Union said the polytechnic planned to replace staff with industry professionals. It criticised Unitec for "shifting its focus away from educational delivery towards training for industry".

In a statement to Fairfax Media, associate professor Leon de Wet Fourie, executive dean of the faculty of creative industries and business, said Unitec would "develop a seamless environment between the organisation and the professions it serves".

"We want to offer the best possible education to our students, so we have worked with leading industry professionals to bring together the very best in global best practice to create an evolving modern, dynamic and future-focused learning environment for students," he said.

Cathy Veninga, chief executive of the Designers Institute of New Zealand, said the organisation had worked with Unitec to help create educational programmes that were in line with industry needs.

"Education needs to change to stay relevant to our sector now and in the future," she said.

"For this reason, we continue to work together to ensure students have the relevant skills to be successful in their chosen profession.

"We are supportive of Unitec's initiative."

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- Fairfax Media

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