Produced by Wellington Institute of Technology                                                              August 2012

WelTec is pleased to bring you the second 2012 issue of our Connection magazine linking industry and our stakeholders with the latest WelTec news and achievements.


                                                                                                                                                             Print Version (PDF)

WelTec Hosts Launch of the Government’s Better Public Service Action Plans

joyceWelTec hosted the launch of the Government’s Better Public Service action plans on tertiary education at the Petone campus on 29 August. Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Minister of Education Hekia Parata released two plans – one focused on increasing the educational achievement of young people, and the other aimed at raising educational achievement for those aged 25 to 34.

Deputy Council Chair Dr Alan Barker welcomed the Crown Ministers to the Wellington Trades Academy at WelTec’s Petone campus. The Ministers were welcomed by a mihi whakatau led by Te Taite Cooper accompanied by Councillors, Linda Sissons, Lawrence Arps Acting Chief Executive Whitireia, members of the Trades Academy industry advisory committee, senior management team, staff, students and parents.

Steven Joyce said the plan set a target of 55% of all 25 to 34 year olds holding a level 4 and above qualification in 2017. He noted the links between higher earnings, economic growth and higher levels of tertiary education attainment as key drivers for a successful New Zealand economy and society. This meant almost 8000 additional 25 to 34 year olds would need to have obtained a higher qualification in the tertiary education system. Mr Joyce encouraged Trades Academy students to be part of this and to continue on with their studies. He noted that the best model of learning at a tertiary education institution was to be working while you are learning – a model firmly in place at WelTec where 95% of students undertake work experience as part of or while they are studying for their qualification.


Ms Parata outlined the plan for 85% of all 18 year olds to have a level 2 or equivalent qualification. This would be a big jump from the current situation where only 68% of 18 year olds have NCEA level 2 or equivalent. She outlined her views on education noting that there were now many cross-overs between secondary school and tertiary education – the Wellington Trades Academy being one example.

Linda Sissons commented that WelTec was in a strong position to help the Government achieve its goals. WelTec had already achieved more than 100% of its enrolments two thirds of the way through the year. WelTec remained committed to trades training and had identified that 85 more engineering students could be trained which, along with the Wellington Trades Academy, provided a major opportunity for the Wellington and New Zealand economy to benefit from having skilled graduates available for work.

 Mid-Year Graduation


More than 170 graduates attended a ceremony on 21 August 2012 at the Wellington Town Hall.  Roger Sowry, Council Chair for WelTec and Whitireia addressed the graduates and their families outlining progress on Students First – a strategic partnership between the two polytechnics which seeks to create a Wellington regional network of vocational tertiary education provision.

Wellington’s Mayor Celia Wade-Brown was the keynote speaker.  She highlighted the win the previous evening by WelTec hospitality students at the Toque d’Or national competition in Auckland.  WelTec won the event for the second year running. (See story here)

The Mayor said that WelTec has distinguished itself for investing in some incredibly exciting partnerships including the new central city hospitality campus alongside Le Cordon Bleu.

"It is the spirit of collaboration that will drive this city and our economy forward and, as an institution for education, WelTec is an exemplar of that spirit."

Graduation - Celia

Mayor Wade-Brown highlighted some of WelTec’s top projects.

The Mayor also highlighted the collaboration with electronics giant NEC which sees an agreement in place covering research and development for three years.  This involves a paid research role at WelTec with staff and students working with NEC’s experts on innovative technologies in the fields of biometrics, human interactions and solutions in the fields of energy, the environment, public safety and health.

WelTec’s close links with Hong Kong’s Cyberport, involving WelTec Creative Technologies and IT staff teaching in Hong Kong is an exciting development.  The Mayor commented that Cyberport is about fostering innovative digital businesses, "I can’t think of many better places in the world to learn than at the door of the rapidly expanding Chinese economy.  There are great opportunities in cyberspace for Wellington’s remarkable educational talent to be exported to a world without borders, and WelTec has opened that door considerably with this partnership."

Closer to home, the Mayor highlighted the Pasifika Trades Training initiative jointly supported by WelTec and Whitireia.  She said, "These are trades that are the bricks and mortar of our economy, and if we’re to compete on the world stage it’s critical that we’ve got well-trained people to provide the essential infrastructure to move our economy forward."  The Mayor went on to acknowledge the families' and Churches' involvement for the Pacific Island students graduating at the ceremony.

Students First Update

Council held a full day Summit to assess progress on the nine key collaborative projects. They warmly acknowledged the collaboration that is becoming evident in all aspects of WelTec's and Whitireia's work.

2011 Research Publication

Research reportThe 2011 Annual Research Report is presented in a new format which lists WelTec’s publications and records the research achievements of staff and includes three profiles of staff and five case studies which provide a useful insight into WelTec’s research activities.

Linda Sissons says, “I am particularly proud of our staff who have gained, or are working towards, a PhD. In 2011, seven of our staff either completed or were studying towards a PhD. This significantly benefits other tutors, their peers and ultimately students – not only in terms of the quality of teaching, but by demonstrating through practice a lifelong commitment to education and training and illustrating where this can lead in your career. I am also very pleased with our Ako Aotearoa supported research into strategies designed to support Pasifika achievement in the tertiary education sector. This research allows WelTec to be a key influencer of government policy settings.”

Much of WelTec’s research activity in 2011 is related to the professions, trades and technology disciplines we cover, and to other activities used to lift firms’ productivity.   

Research Report 2011
WelTec’s 2011 
Annual Research Report

(2.7 MB ebook)


WelTec Connect Collaborates with Inventor to get YouBike™ on the Rehab Market

Dreams are becoming a reality for New Zealand inventor Clem Thorn, thanks to the partnership between WelTec’s commercial and business arm, WelTec Connect, and Wellington firm Venture Solutions (NZ) Ltd.

Clem’s brother, Phil Thorn, was the inspiration for the YouBike™, a bed and floor-mountable exercise bike designed for cardiovascular exercise and rehabilitation. On 26th September 2008 Phil contracted Pneumococcal Meningitis and fell into a coma. Phil recovered, but the almost fatal attack left him deaf, blind and paralysed in his lower body.

While visiting Phil in the rehabilitation hospital, Clem discussed the idea of a bed-mounted, portable, fold-away cycling machine. From there the first basic ideas were designed on scrap paper with an engineer friend and over the next few years Clem designed and built several versions of the YouBike™. 

However, even a great idea can be very difficult for the average kiwi inventor to successfully take to market and that’s where Venture Solutions and WelTec Connect come in. WelTec Connect’s industrial design expertise and experience with manufacturing, combined with Venture Solutions marketing and sales skills, means that an idea like Clem’s has a much higher chance of commercial success.

In the last 12 months, Venture Solutions designed the logo and supplied the vision of how the final product should look. The brief to WelTec Connect was to develop the Youbike so that it was not only functional and light enough to be portable, but was also stylish. The final product has lived up to every expectation. As well as looking sleek and sophisticated, its lightweight construction (16kgs) means it can be handled by one person and it is also able to be folded flat for easy storage under a bed or in a cupboard.

This has been a great collaboration proving that you can launch a new product in a very short timeframe with the right people.

The YouBike™ will be officially launched at the RehaCare tradeshow in Dusseldorf, Germany in October 2012, with pre-sales available from that time.

WelTec to Foster Industry Innovation

mosiacThe Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) has announced its involvement in a national initiative that will benefit local industries and which aims to develop the export competitiveness of the country.

The recently launched Mosaic Innovation Network is a collaborative program between business and tertiary education providers aimed at fostering the development of digital innovation in New Zealand.

Linda Sissons, Chief Executive of WelTec, advised the Institute’s involvement in the program will see an increased number of local ICT internships and industry based projects. “WelTec’s involvement is based around government open data and security. This brings in national companies with an interest in information security and aligns with our degree and graduate diploma in information security.

"WelTec is serious about digitally enabled economic development in Wellington. Over the past few years we have witnessed the challenges that industries face in order to compete in an increasingly digital global economy.

"To remain competitive, industries within New Zealand must identify where the demand is and develop a skilled labourforce and new technologies to match that demand.

"Our involvement with the Mosaic Innovation Network will do just that. Industry operators can benefit from the knowledge and enthusiasm of our ICT students through internships and industry based placements.

"This is an excellent opportunity for business who will benefit from the abilities of our innovation students. Similarly, an industry placement will also prove invaluable for our students who will be inspired, supported and will develop the key skills needed for succeeding in the workplace."

The Future Cities Institute’s Chief Executive, Malcolm Fraser agreed with the notion that businesses throughout multiple sectors in New Zealand need to harness digital innovation in order to remain competitive.

"No single organisation can do it all but we must acknowledge that global innovation has to start at a local level. Mosaic aims to make the transition to digital technology more successful by connecting local businesses, students and researchers with a view to foster interaction, ideas, innovation and knowledge.

'The result will be more industry-relevant graduates and an overall skilled workforce, strengthening our national competiveness, improving economic productivity and fuelling the future growth of New Zealand."

The Mosaic Innovation Network is the result of a partnership between the Metro Group of Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) including Unitec Institute of Technology, Waikato Institute of Technology, Wellington Institute of Technology, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and Otago Polytechnic and further collaboration with industry specific organisations including Microsoft New Zealand, Agitavi International, Synapsys, Industrial Research Limited and Economic Development Agencies of New Zealand.

Prospective industry operators can learn more about the program and register their interest by visiting the website

WelTec and Whitireia Host Pasifika Luncheon 9 August 2012

Pasifika Lunch

WelTec and Whitireia are participating in the Government’s Pacific Trades Training initiative where students of Pacific Island descent can study a trade at no cost.  The students started their studies at the start of 2012.  Some completed the first part of their studies at the end of June and were able to receive a certificate at the August graduation (see photos here).

The challenge now for the students is to secure employment and ideally an apprenticeship.  “We have good employment outcomes for our building and construction students, but it is a tough job market at the moment.  The industry is waiting for the rebuild of Christchurch to get into full swing before offering apprenticeships to young people.  Our students are well-prepared when they leave WelTec.  The concern is that if there is no work in New Zealand they will go overseas to work or find other work outside the industry,” says Head of Construction at WelTec Neil McDonald.  Pacific Island Church Minister Reverend Vaila'au Nove agreed saying that Ministers do not want anything to stand in the way of student success and all opportunities must be explored to ensure successful outcomes for students.

Another forum is planned where key groups will be invited to attend including major employers from the building and construction industry, the BETA Group (eight Industry Training Organisations that have an interest in the industry), Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and the Tertiary Education Commission.

Ranginui Walker and NZQA Panel Visits WelTec

NZQA visit

WelTec hosted a visit by a leading panel of academics in August reviewing NZQA’s quality assurance framework for the tertiary education sector (excluding universities). 

The panel comprised:

  • Dr Ranginui Walker: former Pro-Vice Chancellor (Māori) University of Auckland
  • Dr Neil Barns: former Chief Executive of Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
  • Dr Ross Finnie: Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, Research Director of the Education Policy Research Initiative, based in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa
  • Dr Jennifer Greene: Professor of Quantitative and Evaluative Research Methodologies at the College of Education in the University of Illinois. 

The visitors were welcomed by a mihi whakatau in the Student Hub and then went on to spend time with WelTec’s Academic Director Alan Cadwallader, Executive Dean Julia Hennessy and to learn about WelTec’s approach to Maori student success at Te Whare Awhina. 

This was an important opportunity for WelTec to explain our approach to teaching education and student learning and to comment on quality assurance frameworks and processes.

Engineering Open Day

"You Can Really Make a Difference and Help Shape the World Around You"

engThis was a comment from just one of the more than 200 secondary school students, school career advisors and school heads of department attending WelTec’s School of Engineering Pathways to Engineering open day. 

A dozen secondary schools from across the Wellington region were invited to send students from years 11 to 13 studying maths, science and technology who wanted to learn more about a career in engineering to view WelTec’s School of Engineering in action.

"We need creative problem solvers in this industry.  Make no mistake there are a myriad of issues in society that require engineers to provide a solution.  Oil and gas mineral exploration, electrical generation using renewable power sources – the Government has big plans to expand these industries and this cannot be achieved without engineers.  New Zealand does not produce enough engineering graduates (less than half the OECD average) and substantial growth in the number of graduates is required to meet an estimated labour market shortfall (33% to 83% across different levels of the industry*).  This is a problem for New Zealand and internationally there is a shortage of qualified engineers,” says Graham Carson (Head of WelTec’s School of Engineering).

"We need to make engineering appealing to young girls and boys to solve this labour market problem.  By coming here today students can experience for themselves some of the exciting and interactive tools we use as part of the curriculum,” says Graham.

WelTec’s School of Engineering manages 1000 Equivalent Full Time Students from certificate through to degree programmes.  A level 2 mechanical engineering course is also offered through WelTec’s Trades Academy.

"Engineering is a big focus at WelTec.  We have large workshops on site, relationships with industry, which are formalised as cadetships in some cases, staff working and liaising across CRIs and secondary schools.  We also offer a bridging programme for students leaving school wanting to enter our New Zealand Diploma in Engineering.

"WelTec is the only trainer of civil, electrical and mechanical engineers in the Wellington region.  Our level 7 Bachelor of Engineering Technology is a practical degree that suits young people.  Employers come to us to recruit our graduates.

"The purpose of today’s event is to demonstrate to girls and boys at secondary school, and their teachers the exciting aspects of studying engineering and also to show where a qualification can lead.  If a young person enjoys tinkering, wants to make things work better or understand how things work, a career in engineering might be for them.  With the support of secondary schools encouraging students to continue with their studies, particularly in the areas of maths and physics/science we can address the shortfall of engineers in New Zealand," commented Graham.

Budget 2012 allocated $42M over four years for engineering training.  This is to be accompanied by an increase of 500 additional engineers and technicians completing qualifications each year by 2017.

*IPENZ Research paper: The Demand For and Supply of Engineers,

WelTec Wins the Prestigious Toque d’Or Cooking Competition Again


WelTec has emerged victorious for the second year running at the national Toque d’Or cooking competition.

Students Beth Christieson and Wei Jun Lee went head-to-head in the kitchen with 20 other culinary students from around New Zealand and the Pacific to create six covers of a three-course meal in just two-and-a-half hours. The team’s front of house competitor Iain Charlton then served the dishes to VIP guests. A panel of judges comprising of leading chefs and culinary professionals scrutinised the teams every move throughout the event before declaring them the overall winner.

"I am so happy that we won, all the weeks and weeks of practicing were all worth it,” Iain Charlton, the front of house student said.

"Our menu drew inspiration from international restaurants and culinary events that I visited earlier in the year. The dessert was inspired by a similar one the Queen’s personal chef created," WelTec tutor and mentor Scott Campbell.

WelTec tutor and chef mentor Ray Morrell was thrilled with his teams efforts and said the most important factor in the team winning was team work.

toqdor food"Our students were supported not only by all the staff within the School of Hospitality, but also by our industry partners such as Shaun Clouston from Logan Brown."

After 22 years Nestlé Toque d’Or is New Zealand’s longest running and most prestigious student cookery and food service event. It is held in 17 countries around the world and has launched the careers of several world-famous chefs, including Jamie Oliver.

The win comes on the eve of the School of Hospitality moving into its new purpose built, state-of-the-art facility in central Wellington.


Hosp invite

International News

Gift ExchangeGuangxi Polytechnic of Construction (GPC)
On 14 and 15 August 2012 WelTec hosted a visit from a senior delegation from Guangxi Polytechnic of Construction in China. The President of GPC, Professor Zhaokang Huang, led a delegation of four that included the Dean, Department of Civil Engineering, the Dean, Department of Design Art and the Director, International Exchange Centre. GPC came to discuss the development of a 2+1 articulation model with WelTec’s Schools of Engineering and Creative Technologies.

Under the signed agreement GPC students will spend two years studying in China and then move to WelTec to complete the last year towards WelTec’s New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Civil) and the Diploma in Creative Technologies. This is an exciting arrangement that will see the joint development of curriculum and the exchange of staff and students between the two institutes.

GPC is a highly respected and specialized construction school in China offering three-year diplomas in architectural technology, quantity surveying, civil engineering, landscape design, public utility (water, gas, and transportation), construction management, interior design and IT. The school has more than 2,500 graduates each year, and they are in high demand by local industries.

Bachelor of Creative Technologies 2012 Exhibition

ContentDiversity is celebrated at CONTENT: Raarangi Uupoko, the WelTec Bachelor of Creative Technologies Graduate Exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts on 3-12 November 2012.

The students have chosen to call the exhibition CONTENT, the way that a book or magazine introduces the body of work to the reader. The thirty graduates from the interdisciplinary programme will display a crisp and refreshing collection that includes Spatial Design, Photography, Illustration, Print Publication, Visual Arts, Digital Animation and Video/Media Art.

Included in the exciting line-up are projects varied as Sarah Mclean’s crocheted weed installation, Hailey Jurd’s Worn shop design’s, Burnt Pixel’s programmatic video-art,  Angela Zalewski-Guest’s interior rejuvenation of Newtown’s Polish House, Mike Ring’s Sci Fi Soviet-Afghan concept designs, Natasha George’s coastal pavilions and Zoe McLean’s extraordinary illustrations.

These graduates are poised and prepared to give you an exciting showcase of what’s to come as they launch full force into their futures.

Please visit for more information and sneak previews.

Connection is WelTec's Newsletter to key stakeholders.

Please do not reply to this email, refer all queries to Caryn Ellis in the first instance.