Polytech surveys lack of sign-ups

HEAD: Alex Cabrera, acting chief executive of Aoraki Polytech.
HEAD: Alex Cabrera, acting chief executive of Aoraki Polytech.

A lack of credibility and poor communication have been cited as reasons why students did not study at Aoraki Polytechnic after making inquiries.

Aoraki Polytechnic commissioned a survey into why 8000 inquiries transpired to only 1400 students enrolling in 2012.

Aoraki Polytechnic acting chief executive Alex Cabrera said that, of the issues identified, 75 per cent were factors that Aoraki could potentially alter.

Research group CarteBlanche surveyed a sample of 50 people on why they did not enrol, or enrolled but later withdrew.

This was made up of 12 who inquired and did not enrol and 38 who enrolled but later withdrew. The survey found most people did not enrol because of a change of life circumstances; commitments with work and family, a change in health, change of job or change in living such as shifting.

Self-confidence also played a role, with many concerned they would fail.

The credibility of Aoraki also rated with many concerned the polytechnic was "cutting costs and cutting courses".

One respondent said "I think it's a really good place to study if you didn't do that well at school and you don't have big aspirations."

Poor communication was also raised as a concern by over two-thirds of respondents, with emails and phone calls not followed up or inquiries passed on to someone else and disappeared.

Some were told they were accepted then told the course was too full. Others pulled out of their courses due to a lack of employer support.

One in five said the courses offered were not what they wanted and one in 10 said course hours did not suit them.

Mr Cabrera said the survey has highlighted opportunities.

"Up to 75 per cent of the factors that influenced people's decision not to study at Aoraki Polytechnic are things that Aoraki can potentially impact, such as course hours and improved communication.

"Significantly, 39.7 per cent of those surveyed said they are very or extremely likely to come to Aoraki Polytechnic in the future. This gives us great confidence for the future."

Thirty-five per cent of respondents were aged over 35, which may indicate the need for more flexible delivery options to cater for those with work and life commitments, he said.

"The high number of people saying they are very likely to choose Aoraki in the future gives us confidence there is room for enrolment numbers to grow while continuing to provide good quality education in the Aoraki region."

The Timaru Herald