Learning Hotspots // 06.05.2015 // Curated by Ed.

Another reason not to leave ‘the Bay’

When Bay of Plenty students look at degree options, Tauranga is often low on the list. But this is going to change.

Bay of Plenty Polytechnic is pushing the boat right out by offering flexible ways for people to achieve higher degree level qualifications without leaving the region.

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Students working towards two-year diplomas in business management, environmental studies or sports and recreation can now move on to degree level education through the BOP Polytechnic’s strategic alignment with Waikato University and Auckland University of Technology (AUT). Seamless credit transfers between diploma and degree mean students don’t have to leave the local campus to extend their learning.  Outstanding!

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Bay of Plenty Polytechnic CEO Alan Hampton says it’s about adding a new outcome so students don’t have to stop at diploma level, they can keep going and they can do it in Tauranga.

“We had to find an option that was financially viable for the region so sharing facilities such as the library, classrooms and tutors was the only way to go,” says Alan. “Once you have the recognition that the model works, it takes about two to three years to develop the partnerships needed to roll out across other studies.”

He says the partnership model is working and student numbers are increasing.

“While the structure has changed, the concept remains the same. Someone studying a NZ Diploma in Business can continue their studies towards a Bachelor of Management Studies in Tauranga. The model is also available in different areas like environmental and sport and recreation studies. We also have our own degree level qualifications such as the Bachelor of Creative Industries.”

Alan and other local education advocates have been working tirelessly for more than 20 years to bring local students the opportunity to achieve a degree without leaving home. He says technology plays a huge part in supporting students’ learning.

“It’s all about taking the learning to the student.  We offer a number of online courses, blended options and ways to connect through technology.  It works well for adult learners who have responsibilities at home and work.  They can fit their studies around their lifestyle. We feel it’s still important to connect face to face so we bring them together now and again.”

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Steffan Hudson is one Bay local who’s made the most of the BOP Polytechnic partnerships. He recently graduated with a NZ Diploma in Business Level 6 and Bachelor of Management Studies.

“I knew what I wanted to do and the chance to ultimately gain a marketing qualification through the Polytechnic and University of Waikato’s BMS partnership programme in Tauranga meant that I could remain in my hometown and walk out with a degree that is well recognised.”