At the start of this month, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology celebrated its first anniversary as a new institution, being the merged entity of Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and Waiariki Institute of Technology.
Since his appointment four months ago, Toi Ohomai Chief Executive Dr Leon Fourie's presence has been felt almost immediately around the region with his passion for education and drive for changing the traditional model of education.
“Toi Ohomai is the largest provider of tertiary education training in the Bay of Plenty,” he says. “It is our responsibility to ensure that we get that training right to improve access to education across the region, linked to job outcomes that, as part of a value-chain, enables regional prosperity.”
He says in the wider Bay of Plenty, rates of participation in tertiary education and overall educational achievement are below the national average, especially among priority groups such as Maori learners.
“What that tells us is that traditional delivery models and practices of education have passed their use-by dates. We simply need to do more.”
He says Toi Ohomai is all about creating ‘meaningful partnerships' to encourage students.
“What our young people and our rohe need is a strong and growing tertiary education sector well connected with regional stakeholders – our industries and businesses, iwi and community groups, secondary schools and other tertiary providers.
“We intend to fulfil that need, continuing to work closely with all of our communities, to help them succeed. Individual success leads to regional success and regional success means we all gain.”