6 Nov 2018

Proposed polytechnic merger would spell job losses

3:37 pm on 6 November 2018

Job losses are expected if a proposed merger between the Wellington Institute of Technology and Whitireia Polytechnic goes ahead.

Portrait photo

Chris Gosling, CEO of Weltec and Whitireia Polytechnics. Photo: RNZ / John Gerritsen

The polytechnics are planning the merger as a way to strengthen their financial position and boost enrolments.

Whitireia's campus on the Kapiti Coast would be closed under the proposal.

The chief executive of both polytechnics Chris Gosling said they may have to cut some of the staff they're employing.

"There will be a small number of job losses if we go ahead with the Kapiti closure, and it's important to note that that's still subject to a consultation process with the affected staff.

"The merger itself, at this stage we don't think there will be any or very few explicit job losses as a result of that. But it is fair to say if the merger proceeds, then once it's been completed we will be reviewing what our staffing requirements are."

He said they have made significant changes to bolster their finances, but they remain in a fragile state.

"It's no secret that both our institutions have had some financial challenges over the last year or two, so what we're proposing to do is put in place a plan that's going to address those financial challenges."

Last year, Whitireia posted a loss of more than $8 million and WelTec lost about $2m.

Mr Gosling said the merger would benefit students, increase financial savings and help them create a single training provider for the Wellington region.

The polytechnics will submit a business case to the Tertiary Education Commission for approval later this year for ministerial consideration.

Mr Gosling said if the business case is accepted, the Minister of Education Chris Hipkins would consult with staff, students, iwi and community before making a final decision.

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