Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce has today announced a $440,000 funding package to promote international education and primary sector skill development in Southland.
The funding supports the Southland Regional Development Strategy Action Plan, which contains a number of initiatives aimed at attracting students and building the region’s skill base.
“The Action Plan seeks to grow the local population, so the goal for international education is not only to bring in an additional 3,500 students by 2025, but to increase the number of students and their families settling and remaining in Southland,” Mr Joyce says.
“Through Education New Zealand, the Government is contributing $300,000 to the new Southern Education Alliance, a group representing education providers who will look to draw more international students to the area and facilitate relationships with local business community.
“Southland is short of working age people. This initiative will focus on attracting adult students with young families to complete post graduate qualifications and take up jobs in the region.”
The Action Plan also sees the new Youth Futures programme to build Southland’s primary sector skill base receive $140,000 in funding, Mr Joyce says.
“New Zealand primary industries are estimated to need another 50,000 workers by 2025. Southland’s strong primary sector provides an excellent opportunity to keep people in the region by engaging them in rewarding careers early on.
“Youth Futures is a regionally-led initiative that will support Southland’s young people to build careers in the primary sector and associated industries. It will enhance connections between schools and businesses, providing career information, on-site experience and employment opportunities to secondary students across Southland.”
The Southland Education Alliance is a collaboration with Venture Southland, Southern Institute of Technology, secondary and primary schools. The group will promote education opportunities internationally, develop strategic relationships offshore and within local communities, facilitate an excellent student experience and ensure that the region grows the economic, social and cultural benefits from international education.
These initiatives complement a number of other actions in the plan receiving government support to help Southland build, attract and retain talent. These include a schools pilot with international students, scoping more student accommodation in the region, a student internship scheme, a regional tertiary development plan and agriculture training places.
The Southland Regional Development Strategy Action Plan has been developed by the region with central government support. It forms part of the Government’s Regional Growth Programme.