Degree course to be offered in South Canterbury for the first time
South Cantabrians will soon be able to study towards a degree-level qualification in Timaru for the first time.
Ara Institute of Canterbury has announced it will offer the Bachelor of Applied Management at its southern campuses from this semester.
The course may be just a starting point, with confirmation that at least two other degree-level courses are being investigated for the Timaru campus.
Ara chief executive Kay Giles said the polytechnic was seeking approval to offer a Bachelor of Design, or something similar in the creative industries sector.
READ MORE: Degree level courses for Timaru
There had also been interest in higher-level qualifications in the ICT sector, she said.
"People say 'we need people with computing qualifications here', so we need to do the work there."
Feedback from the business community had also prompted the launch of the Bachelor of Applied Management, she said.
It would be the first time a degree-level qualification had been offered in Timaru, she said.
Ara had approval to offer it at the Timaru, Ashburton, and Oamaru campuses. Exactly which campuses would offer face-to-face classes and which would offer the course by video conferencing would depend on demand, Giles said.
Student feedback had also played a role in the decision. People often finished their diplomas and realised they could not take their study any further, she said.
The new course would provide a pathway for further study.
Ara courses were being reviewed and expanded, and that process could potentially identify other areas of demand, she said.
Business lecturer Dr Frina Albertyn said the applied management degree would bring new expertise and opportunities to the Canterbury regional business community.
"We have a great deal of experience and expertise in South Canterbury, but until now we have not been able to offer a degree level qualification," she said.
"This is particularly exciting for those who have family or work locally and can't easily pick up and move location to study. They can now continue on to earn their Bachelor of Applied Management without leaving home."
The new qualification might also bring people to the region to enjoy the unique South Canterbury lifestyle while they study, she said.
The Timaru campus previously offered a one year Diploma in Applied Business level 5, and the two year New Zealand Diploma in Business level 6.
Those qualifications will now "staircase" to the Bachelor of Applied Management with majors across a range of specialisations including accounting, business information systems, event management, human resources, sales and marketing, hospitality, personal finance, and retail.
Albertyn said with five "highly qualified" staff across the Timaru, Ashburton and Oamaru campuses, the Business Department had the ability to create individual study plans using a blended learning approach of online and face to face learning, evening classes, and blocks of intensive study to cater to different needs of learners.
Professionals who wanted to have their experience recognised as academic credits towards a formal qualification could be assessed through the Centre of Assessment of Prior Learning at Ara, she said.
The possibility of offering degree-level courses in South Canterbury was first signalled in January, following the merger of Aoraki Polytechnic and CPIT.