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Wellington International Students Excellence Awards showcase the value of international education
Established in 2016, the Wellington International Student Excellence Awards, held by WellingtonNZ, recognise high-achieving international students based in the Wellington region.
Awardees included Academic Excellence Award winner and Whitireia NZ/WelTec student Matthew Hitchener from England, who was honoured for his project introducing pelvic binders to paramedic services in Wellington. Pelvic binders are commonly used overseas to compress the pelvis to prevent bleeding in those with a pelvic fracture. After a successful trial on a LifeFlight helicopter, the binders will soon be launched on all Wellington Free Ambulances.
WellingtonNZ Workforce and Business Growth Manager, Matt Carrere, says the awards show both what the Wellington region can offer international students, as well as the vast contribution students make to the region in return.
“Wellington is an interconnected, social and diverse region where international students learn and thrive. It’s unsurprising that many choose to remain here after their studies to pursue a career.”
The awards also recognised individuals and organisations that work to welcome international students to the region.
PhD candidate at Victoria University of Wellington, Anna-Marie White, received the Internationalisation Award – Domestic Student for organising regular PhD writing workshops (or ‘bootcamps’) with international students.
She was nominated by a group of PhD candidates from around the world, who said: “Anna has expressed her manaakitanga to her international friends and has increased our feeling of home, our love of New Zealand, and our passion for our research. Bootcamp will always be the highlight of our PhD studies, and Anna is a member of the Wellington community that you can be incredibly proud of.”
This year’s Internationalisation Workplace Award went to Wellington tech company MarginFuel for offering employment and internships to 20 international students and graduates.
“MarginFuel offers the students opportunities to further their careers, and in return we have found the students are intelligent, hard-working and add a rich layer to our team culture,” CEO Andrew Pascoe says. “New hires especially comment on how culturally diverse we are, and how this adds so much to the organisation.”
For the full list of winners, visit the WellingtonNZ website.
Opening new doors for Chilean teachers of English
Two groups of 20 Chilean teachers of English recently spent time at two New Zealand universities, studying diversity and inclusion in the classroom and learning more about the Kiwi style of teaching.
The first cohort, from Chile’s Araucania region, went to the University of Waikato’s Institute of Professional Learning. They were the third group of teachers funded to travel here by Araucanian local government.
University of Waikato Associate Director of International Education and Development, Chris Henderson, describes their programme as “genuinely collaborative”.
“As our relationship with the Chilean Ministry of Education has developed, we progressed from delivering an off-the-shelf programme to co-creating a teacher development intitiative that is bespoke and unique to Chilean teachers’ needs,” he says.
"Our unique point of difference is our inclusion of Māori language and learning methods in mainstream classrooms. This is something our Chilean teachers aspire to achieve for their Mapuche [indigenous] learners. As such, we can inspire possibilities and introduce methodologies that will support their journey."
The second cohort spent four weeks at Massey University in Palmerston North. Funded to come here by the Chilean Ministry of Education’s Programa Ingles Abre Puertas (English Open Doors) programme, their members came from all over Chile.
This course featured classes on pedagogical innovations that promote student-centred instruction, as well as visits to local schools, practical workshops and a two-day stay on a local marae.
One student commented: “Not only this course taught us content, but also it engaged me with your culture. How am I going to learn about New Zealand education if I didn't know anything about you? I feel your culture, traditions and daily lifestyle are now part of my life; I feel I fully understand your system and how to apply it in my own reality. Thank you for making this experience as unique as I thought it would be.”
ENZ Senior Market Development Manager, Javiera Visedo, says she is delighted to continue working with the Chilean Government on teaching initiatives like these.
“Chile and New Zealand are like-minded partners and the education linkages get stronger and deeper every day,” she says. “These groups are perfect examples of the work we have been doing in Chile aligned with our International Education Strategy, and we definitely expect more to come.”
For enquiries regarding opportunities like these in Chile, contact Javiera via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19: How ENZ is communicating to students, agents and providers
On our own channels, ENZ’s communications with students are focused on the following streams of work:
- Keeping students updated with official government information about the COVID-19 situation in New Zealand, and how this affects them
- Supporting international students who are in New Zealand through this difficult time, with content to keep them connected and support their wellbeing.
- Keeping New Zealand top of mind for prospective students and providing information about studying here, so we are well positioned to recruit new students when the crisis period is over and borders reopen.
Agents are a key audience for ENZ, as they are often a student’s first port of call when an issue comes up. Since February 2020, AgentLab has been our primary information channel for communicating with agents updates on COVID-19. The platform has 2,697 users, and has seen a surge in registrations (733 new) in the past three weeks alone.
We recognise that New Zealand education providers are also communicating with their international students regularly. ENZ hosts a dedicated COVID-19 page for education institutions and stakeholders, and has developed messaging for international students at both a tertiary and secondary school level that providers should feel free to recut for their own channels.
Finally, ENZ is communicating regularly with institutions and peak bodies through regular meetings and email updates.
What we’re doing on our student web platforms
NauMai NZ is our central information for hub for international students in New Zealand. Here, students can find out how to access healthcare, open a bank account, find a rental property, and more.
Since February, NauMai NZ has hosted a dedicated COVID-19 page that is regularly updated with key information relevant to international students.
Beyond immediate information updates, our content focus on NauMai NZ for the next few months will be on creating new content to support international students throughout their time in self-isolation and beyond. Wellbeing will be a key theme, as well as helping students stay connected through sharing their stories.
The Study in New Zealand website has a banner at the top and midway down the page that directs to the NauMai NZ COVID-19 info page.
What we’re doing on student-facing social media
Our strategy for our student social media pages is first and foremost to ensure COVID-19 information is easy to find for anyone who visits our social pages. Across our student-facing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Group and Weibo pages, we have ‘pinned’ informative posts and links directing to the NauMai NZ COVID-19 page, for up-to-date, relevant information. On WeChat, we have a site tab with regular updated COVID-19 information.
Over the coming weeks and months, our social media content will also focus primarily on supporting the wellbeing of current international students. We’ll be working with our Kiwi Ambassadors and other students to share their stories, experiences and tips, helping to keep students connected with each other.
Most of the emails our marketing team sends out to students and prospective students are automated well in advance. It was therefore important for ENZ to review all of our emails to ensure they are relevant in the current national and international environment.
- We have paused all of our automated emails except enquiry emails that link prospective students through to institutions they are interested in.
- We have emailed our current student and prospective student databases to acknowledge the situation and link them through to the NauMai NZ COVID-19 page.
- Our key message here was that the safety and wellbeing of international students in New Zealand and New Zealand students who are overseas is our top priority at this time, and we look forward to welcoming new international students when borders reopen, and life starts getting back to normal.
- We will be considering our ongoing automated email stream options over the coming weeks, and re-assessing any necessary content changes.
From the CE: A transitional phase
First of all, a big thank you to everyone. Your insight and problem-solving on so many urgent matters, including student wellbeing and repatriation, has been invaluable.
I’d like to reflect quickly on how we’ve worked together so far. Our activities together represent just a beginning on the long road ahead. Within ENZ, we have:
- Created and administered the International Student Hardship Fund, which has allocated $1m to 105 providers and community organisations, assisting approximately 11,000 students.
- Created the Future Focused Programme and invested $1.2 million of reallocated government funds into the future of the industry to encourage innovation.
- Stood up cross-organisation teams within ENZ to focus on student wellbeing and support the repatriation of school-aged students.
- Communicated and engaged intensively with peak bodies, education providers, agents and in-market partners.
- Invested in NauMai NZ and increased our communications to students within New Zealand
- Continued to maintain visibility of New Zealand as a high quality study destination, and
- We’re continuing to work closely with other agencies, who have optimised policy settings to cushion the sector from the impacts of COVID-19 as far as possible.
Of course, a crucial step of the international education sector will be bringing in students.
International students remain a priority group in the government’s planning for any managed border entry agreements. We’re looking forward to welcoming international students into New Zealand again, but we need to make sure we do so in a way that is safe for everyone.
There are many details to be worked through, including practical quarantine and self-isolation arrangements, monitoring processes, and how the costs can be shared by those arriving.
As a result of this complexity, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins has advised our sector leaders that international students will not be returning to New Zealand in July and August this year. He hopes that we will be able to safely welcome small groups of students by the end of the year and begin building up towards 2021.
We need to have and retain public confidence in the managed border re-entry process, before we welcome cohorts of students to New Zealand.
Finally, our work towards a sector recovery strategy continues and I look forward to sharing more with you this July.
He waka eke noa (we’re all in this together).
Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao
Meet the Team: Matt Penney
Could you please outline your own role and the role of the Corporate Services team?
I head up our Finance and IT teams and sit on the leadership team. I am a member of the Audit & Risk committee and chair the Digital Steering group.
Finance is responsible for paying our invoices, keeping accounting records, business partnering, helping to set budgets and reforecasting those as things change. We do a lot of reporting and work with tax people, auditors and do other forms of compliance. Audit NZ has awarded us their highest rating for the past three years.
IT provides many of the essential tools, technology, and training for us to be able to do our job. ENZ is putting in place one of the most, if not the most, advanced IT-managed cloud computing solution within the public sector.
We operate in many different jurisdictions around the world, so we face many different challenges at a local level. We are also part of the NZ Inc government sector and there is a lot of knowledge and services that we can and do share with each other.
How has COVID-19 impacted your team’s work, and what work do you have ahead of you with the recovery?
In the current environment, we have helped to reconfigure ENZ’s work programme. We have supported the identification of new activities that support the international education sector, connect with the international students in New Zealand, and gather intelligence about the markets for New Zealand providers. I think we have all gone through a reboot the last few months and as is often said, “we should never let a good crisis go to waste” and miss the chance to make positive change.
In terms of my team’s work programme, that’s actually full steam ahead. We have nearly completed our IT-managed cloud computing solution, desk phones have been replaced with soft phone telephony, we are trialling updated Zoom hardware, and putting in new, improved global managed internet connections. We are also go-live shortly with a new finance system to ensure ENZ staff can spend less time on administration and more time on value-add activities.
Can you tell me a bit about your professional background?
I belong to the New Zealand professional bodies for Directors and Chartered Accountants. and have 25 years of business experience in a mixture of private and public sector roles. Six years of that experience was gained in the UK and Ireland. I really enjoyed my time working overseas.
I joined ENZ in 2014; this is my first government agency role.
Accounting is a transferable skill, so I have had an interesting journey across many different sectors. I have toured around power stations, air traffic control towers, coal mines – who says accounting is boring!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
My interests are built around my family; I am married with 11 and 8-year-old boys. I like my travel – one of the benefits of COVID is that my leave balance is now positive again!
Once upon a time we backpacked our way around Asia and Europe and did a truck tour across southern Africa. I have been to something like 60 countries, but these days we do more family-friendly things like go to Ohope, Rarotonga and the South Island ski fields.
I have done the annual Coast to Coast race across the South Island four times and Ironman NZ once. In the past couple of years I’ve tried adventure racing in China where we’ve won enough prize money to cover the costs of getting there. We raced in Wulong and I could not go all that way without popping in to see Felix in our nearest ENZ office in Guangzhou.
MyStudy NZ WeChat mini programme gets a refresh
MyStudy NZ is our intelligent matching tool which matches prospective students to courses and institutions in New Zealand based on a set of questions and areas of interest. It can be found on www.studyinnewzealand.govt.nz for our western markets.
However, for our China market who predominantly use WeChat, we developed a mini programme for them in November 2018.
The new version of the mini programme continues the original smart matching, but is more user-friendly and personalised, making it easy for students to obtain official information about application.
How is 2.0 better than 1.0? We believe it’s better in eight different ways:
- Social sharing enabled – Prospective students who come across their dream school can now share it to a WeChat friend or group chat immediately. The recipient can open the mini programme and view the details of the school as well.
- One-click authorisation – Students won’t have to fill in all the details to become a member anymore. With one click, prospective students can authorise their WeChat accounts to become registered MyStudy NZ members.
- Clear living costs displayed – Once prospective students get a match, they can expand and view the annual living costs in a pop-up window.
- You can see the latest content with added filter – Without registering, students can view the latest OA articles and filter based on views or posting date.
- UX (user experience) optimisation – Users can now choose paths when entering the mini programme.
- Complete UI (user interface) update – To remain consistent with the refreshed ‘I am New’ brand.
- New notifications – Push notifications will be sent to remind students to register, do course matching, bookmark favourite schools and talk to them.
- Speed optimisation and no more errors – We have done some coding optimisations and upgraded our server so the mini programme will load faster and users shouldn’t receive any more error messages.
English New Zealand announces new chair
Darren, who is the managing director and co-owner of Languages International, previously served as English New Zealand’s chair from June 2012 to 2015.
“I was planning for something much more relaxing than stepping back into the chair’s role at English New Zealand,” he said.
“But these are unprecedented times and I’m happy to take up the challenge. I hope that my experience and advocacy can help English New Zealand lead the sector out of the current crisis. We can make a useful contribution to the recovery of the New Zealand economy, but we need both judicious and timely support and clear communication from the government, and that’s where our initial focus will be.”
English New Zealand say they greatly appreciate the contributions that Wayne, also the group principal for ICL Education, has made during his tenure.
“It has been a privilege to represent the 22 members schools and I have appreciated the opportunity to engage with government and non-government stakeholders, raising the awareness of what we do and advocating on members’ behalf,” Wayne said.
“We have long argued that our quality and experience be recognised by government agencies in a meaningful way - in the way the export education levy is determined, in the way our sector is quality assured, and in the way our English language courses are categorised.
“To that end, I was very pleased by the recent cabinet paper proposing legislative changes allowing for recognition of ELT as a separate sub-sector and opening the door to achieving these goals.”
PTE English for Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) Provision Fund
The $1.5 million fund is designed to help English language schools impacted by the border closure to international students.
The funding was announced in July by Minister of Education Chris Hipkins as part of the Government’s $51.6 million Recovery Plan for International Education.
The PTE ESOL Fund is part of the first workstream, which seeks to stabilise the sector while borders remain closed. Read more about the Recovery Plan.
The funding aims to help increase demand for English language training, to be met by English Language Schools. It will also help with upskilling and improving the employability of New Zealanders with English language needs, including migrant partners and dependents of New Zealanders.
The fund is being implemented by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).
To be eligible for the PTE ESOL Provision Fund, your organisation must hold a Category 1 External Evaluation and Review (EER) rating from NZQA as at 1 July 2020.
Teaching enabled by this fund may only be provided to Category A and B learners. All learners must be in New Zealand.
How to apply
Applications for the PTE ESOL Provision Fund are open now and will close at 5pm on Friday, 28 August.
To apply, you need to complete the form on the TEC website and send it through to the TEC Customer Group via email: email@example.com
For the full list of terms and conditions, including successful applicants’ reporting and monitoring requirements, refer to the TEC website.
From the CE: Honouring our commitment to international students
The Government has announced today that a new border exception will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies.
This is a positive first step on the path to recovery and is consistent with the Recovery Plan for International Education.
It is recognition that international education is important to New Zealand and will play a vital role in the country’s rebuild and recovery from COVID-19. Prior to COVID, international education was New Zealand’s fifth-largest export earner, earning $5 billion a year and supporting around 45,000 jobs.
Moreover, the international students included in this group have had their postgraduate study or research disrupted by COVID-19, and cannot complete it due to the practical nature of their course. They have made a commitment to New Zealand, and that’s something we want to honour.
ENZ’s next step is to work with tertiary providers as they identify and select eligible students, and to continue to work with other government agencies to ensure a safe and considered process is developed for these students to enter the country.
ENZ is looking forward to further border exceptions that will benefit as many providers and students as possible, when it is safe to do so.
We will also have work underway to make sure the students entering New Zealand receive a warm welcome and have the information they need to succeed.
I am very proud of the manaakitanga that New Zealand education providers have been demonstrating throughout the COVID-19 crisis this year.
Please continue to encourage your students to sign up to NauMai NZ, our digital home for students who have chosen to study in New Zealand. Over the COVID-19 crisis, it has continually been updated and expanded with information international students need to know.
In the early hours of Saturday, 2 October, ENZ’s NauMai NZ was awarded a Highly Commended in the Student Support category at The PIEoneer Awards. We are delighted to be recognised for this work alongside such a varied list of international organisations.
You can read more about NauMai NZ in this issue of E-News.
He waka eke noa (we’re all in this together).
Manapou ki te Ao
New initiatives to keep New Zealand education dream alive in Viet Nam
Earlier this year, ENZ asked study providers how we can support the visibility of New Zealand schools who usually operate in the Vietnamese market.
Two proposals have now been selected.
The first will fund Year 10 students from five Manawatū schools to undertake a customised version of AFS’ Global Competence Certificate (GCC).
AFS is partnering with Massey University to facilitate the programme and each New Zealand school will partner with a Vietnamese school from TTC Education, ENZ’s private school network partner with over 18,000 students.
Students from both countries will join weekly virtual workshops facilitated by Massey University – in the last four weeks of New Zealand’s school year – focused on developing the students’ lifelong global ‘power skills’ and providing them with an opportunity to interact and connect directly with their overseas student counterparts.
CEDA and Palmerston North City Council will offer scholarships for up to 25 Manawatū students to participate in the Vietnam GCC, while ENZ will fund the same number of students to participate in Viet Nam.
The second initiative will support the development and implementation of a digital marketing strategy for 14 New Zealand schools. This initiative, which is being delivered by Lightpath Consulting Group, will include dedicated in-market representation, market advice, agent engagement support and a customised Vietnamese website.
The activities will help build a strong, in-market sector presence while borders are closed. They will enable the schools and ENZ to engage through tailored digital marketing programmes to boost the reputation of New Zealand schools with Vietnamese audiences.
Viet Nam is an important market for New Zealand schools. In 2018, it was one of our only source markets to record student growth on the year before, with 39 percent more Vietnamese students choosing to study here.
“Education New Zealand remains committed to supporting New Zealand schools’ activity in Viet Nam and given the current challenges presented by COVID-19, we believe that supporting in-market representation models will maintain visibility in a market which has demonstrated continued growth for the sector,” ENZ Regional Director – Asia, John Laxon, says.