Aoraki Polytechnic forges China links

Aoraki Polytechnic is set to reap major benefits following the sister city visit to Weihai by a South Canterbury delegation.

The polytech will conduct offshore training in China, offer two-month internships for New Zealand-based students in Weihai and feature at the city's food show next year.

Local delegates including Timaru District Mayor Damon Odey, South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce chairman Tony Howie and Aoraki Polytechnic chief executive Alex Cabrera have just returned from visiting sister cities in China and Japan.

"The details of the internships are yet to be confirmed," Cabrera said. "Aoraki is strong in hospitality and primary industry education, and the city of Weihai is a hub for tourism and agricultural industries.

"So we have been invited to collaborate in these areas with the Haiyue Jianguo Group," a hospitality and tourism group.

Cabrera said the polytechnic wanted to be known for its hospitality, tourism and primary industry training.

"This is a very exciting opportunity as it's a first for us to deliver training offshore, and is also in line with the new tertiary education strategy."

He said the next step in the partnership would be a curriculum mapping exercise.

"It's a potential long-term relationship."

Aoraki Polytechnic and Shandong Drug and Food Vocational College also signed a collaborative agreement that is expected to bring more Chinese students and staff to South Canterbury for professional development.

Cabrera said the potential to grow international education opportunities was made possible by the co-operative approach of the mayor and council, and the Chinese consulate.

"Through collaboration, it has resulted in us being able to progress so quickly," he said.

Cabrera said an invitation had been extended to participate in the Weihai Food Expo.

It would give the opportunity to promote Aoraki Polytechnic and also South Canterbury produce, he said.

This comes on the heels of a recent announcement by the polytechnic of a Chinese resource centre opening in Timaru.

Odey said the trip was successful and produced endless opportunities for the two communities. "It has been very fruitful to make these visits in person, to get to know the people.

"I am working hard to promote initiatives that will create new economic opportunities in our region," he said.

The Timaru Herald