Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology
There are 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics located across New Zealand. Institutes of Technology generally focus on providing a hands-on, practical education, offering vocational certificates and diplomas in both general and specialised areas of study.
Many of these polytechnics or institutes of technology also offer undergraduate degrees, in fields such as business, computer science, IT, and science. Some even offer select postgraduate programmes, often through a partnership with a local university.
From Technical Schools to modern tertiary institutions
Polytechnics began in New Zealand as technical schools, the first of which was the Wellington School of Design which opened in 1886. These days modern polytechnics offer a wide range of subjects catering for a growing range of trades, occupations and professions. Traditional courses like automotive and building are still there, but so are the arts, engineering, science, business and degree level study.
Smaller, more hands-on classes making work ready graduates
Polytechnic classes are often smaller and more personal which suits some students. The courses offered usually come with a much bigger hands-on and practical component that university courses. If you ‘learn by doing’ rather than by theory alone, a polytechnic course could be just right for you.
These practical courses and learning styles work for employers too, making graduates much more ‘work-ready’ than many university grads as they often come along with some practical work experience and specific skills the industry is wanting.
So what are they … Institutes of Technology or Polytechnics?
The answer is they are both, and, there is actually no difference between them. The differences lie in the courses and programmes that each individual institution offers you as a potential student. In fact, about 30 years ago the then Minister of Education persuaded most of these institutes to use the new term ‘polytechnic’ in their name, however some flat out refused and left the Institute of Technology as part of their name and brand.
Mergers designed with you in mind
Recently the government announced that all Polytechnics will be merged by April 1 2020 under the name the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. The changes are designed to “give industry greater control over all aspects of vocational education and training, making the system more responsive to employers’ needs and to the changing world of work”. You can read more about the merger here.
The merger promises better performance, better spending and ultimately, better opportunities for their customers, which is you.
Explore NZ’s 16 Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology