Find all the answers to anything and everything Stand Up For SIT related here.

If there’s a question you think we haven’t answered and should have on here or you’ve still got some questions, use the contact form on the Contact Us page to let us know.

Why is this happening?

The Government believes New Zealand’s ITPs are going broke, cutting programmes, closing campuses and that the model is fundamentally broken. It wants to move toward a system where educational institutions and on-the-job training aren’t competing against each other. To achieve this the Ministry has made three recommendations for change and is currently seeking feedback on these. The changes are:

  • Redefined roles for education providers and industry bodies;

  • An institution with the working title of New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology, bringing together the 16 existing ITPs as a single entity;

  • and a unified vocational education funding system

When will this happen?

The Government intends to have the legislation passed by March 2020. From April 1, 2020, all 16 ITPs will become subsidiaries of the centralised body - The New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. The legislation still needs to be passed, and this is the last opportunity we have to enact change to be written in.

The reform’s been ANNOUNCED. What now?

Having reviewed the reform papers, we’re extremely disappointed. Southland’s voices were not listened to. Now, we’re moving to our “Can You Hear Us?” campaign, directed at the Minister and his Government. While some might have you believe the reform’s have carved out a way for SIT, this is not the case. For example: we asked for assets to be ring fenced. The reform uses the words “ring fenced for reinvestment in the region” but the reality is SIT will have no say over how those funds are redistributed - that will be decided by the centralised body. This is the kind of lack in detail we are extremely concerned about. What else don’t we know?

We’ll be keeping the heat on, making sure our campaign is visible and advocating for changes to be made to the reform legislation before it’s passed.


Better regional representation
The SIT subsidiary board needs to have a larger local representation on it to ensure regional voices are present and heard. We believe the board should be made up 75% local/locally-connected people. This best ensures regional responsiveness and means students in Southland will be better served by people who have an intimate knowledge of the region.

Retention of international student recruitment
It's really important to correctly match students with regional New Zealand because often students are coming from places which are the polar opposite in terms of way of life – size, climate, population, number of services, etc. International student recruitment should not be centralised; SIT needs to continue its own campaign in this area (as it currently is). The institution has a unique skillset and knowledge in this area, with long-term connections with the international community.

Threshold for statutory intervention
We absolutely agree that ITPs in the sector need to be performing at a certain level that is sustainable for the sector. However, the threshold for statutory intervention should be set by academic and financial expectations, and not at the Minister’s whim.

How will THE REFORMS affect Southland?

SIT is one of the largest employers in Southland and its programmes bring many people to the region. Without SIT, our economy, communities, diversity, culture, arts and sports will all be affected. The embedded nature of SIT in the community and its role in revitalising the community and economy of Invercargill in recent years means that any changes to the status quo could be devastating for the region.

Have a good read of our Why Stand Up? page for a detailed breakdown of these effects.


Who are the affected ITPs?

The affected tertiary education providers are:

  • Southern Institute of Technology

  • Otago Polytechnic

  • Wellington Institute of Technology

  • Whitireia Community Polytechnic

  • Waikato Institute of Technology

  • Unitec New Zealand

  • Ara Institute of Canterbury

  • Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology

  • Tai Poutini Polytechnic

  • Northland Polytechnic

  • The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

  • Eastern Institute of Technology

  • Manukau Institute of Technology

  • Universal College of Learning

  • Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

  • Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki


Why does this matter?

If the reform goes ahead as proposed, it will lead to significant losses for Southland. SIT is one of Southland’s largest employers and bring many people to the region for study. The flow-on economic effects of SIT no longer being will mean businesses will fail, people will lose their jobs, we will have less visitors to the region, there will be less spending, our cultural diversity will suffer, our population will decline, the housing market will decline… the list goes on.


What is Stand Up For SIT?

Stand Up For SIT is a large campaign created by Southland marketing expert Carla Forbes. As a business leader, she saw the potential effects of the closure of SIT as devastating for the region and decided to take a stand on the issue.

After the Minister’s announcement on August 1 of the reform going ahead, Carla and her team got to work on creating the next phase of the campaign. Can You Hear Us? is the campaign’s response to what it feels is the Minister’s complete disregard of Southland’s voice in the consultation period.


Why have you created Stand Up For SIT?

Because we want people to rally together and tell central Government that merging SIT into one entity with the other ITPs is a terrible idea. Stand Up For SIT is Southland’s opportunity to have its voice heard, loud and clear.


How do I help?

With the consultation period closed and the reform plans announced, our last opportunity to have the plans changed is to press for changes in the legislation. The legislation must be passed for the reform to go ahead. We feel the Minister has not listened to Southland at all, and this is not ok. We need you to talk to and visit your local MPs, contact the Education Minister and tell him how you feel, keep your social media channels full of “Can You Hear Us?” campaign material and keep asking questions of the reform. The August 1 announcement was very light on detail; as the biggest change to vocational education in decades, we think this lack of detail as to the specifics of how the reform will affect the regions - specifically Southland - is unacceptable.


Why does the Government think this is the best approach?

The Government believes this reform is the best way forward for both the Vocational Education sector, and businesses and industry. It doesn’t think the current system meets the needs of students and isn’t set up to provide flexible and nimble training and skills development to get people into jobs quickly. At a time where New Zealand is facing a skills shortage, it thinks the ITP sector is going broke.


Does SIT receive money from the Government as an education provider?

Yes, SIT does receive monies from Government through different mechanisms. Student Achievement Component (SAC) funding is the Institute’s main source of operational funding from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). This is received as an operational bulk grant and is based on fulltime students (EFTS) levels. SIT reported receiving $33,038,000 from Government in its 2017 Annual Report.

More information on how vocational education is currently funded in the Proposal on a unified funding system Technical discussion document.

How SIT funded?

SIT is funded through a mix of domestic and international fees, government funding and other income. It reported a total income of $53,163,000 and a surplus of $4,026,000 in its 2017 Annual Report. This information is made publicly available through its Annual Report and website every year.

The Government has indicated the ITP sector is in strife and needs major intervention. Why is SIT against this?

The problems identified in the Reform of Vocational Education proposal are not reflective of the entire ITP sector. Indeed, there are issues and some institutions are struggling, but SIT is not one of them. The disestablishment of SIT will cause far more adverse effects for Southland than what the Government has considered. SIT is an institution that continues to go from strength to strength and has steadily increasing student numbers. In the coming years, SIT expects to build a Centre for Creative Industries – an exhibition, performance and teaching hub. Here, where all its animation, film, fashion, gaming, music and virtual reality development courses will be housed. This is not a marker of a failing education provider.


How many students are at SIT?

There are nearly 14,000 students studying at SIT (Annual Report 2017) which equates to nearly 5000 EFTS.