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Our Connections


UCOL is committed to building collaborative and productive relationships across our regions and internationally. Our strong relationships contribute to the development of skilled graduates, who in turn play a part in making a difference to economies and communities across the globe.



At UCOL we like sharing our campuses with our communities and appreciate the opportunity to play our part in community initiatives. For example, in Palmerston North, we have a three year partnership with Te Manawa Museum of Art Science and History; on our Wairarapa campus the Whakaoriori Marae is available for regular iwi use, and in Whanganui we are privileged to be able to share space on campus with Community Education Whanganui and Whanganui District Council

We work closely with all local Councils in our region and enjoy contributing collaboratively to our shared visions, often jointly exploring innovative ideas and opportunities that benefit the whole Region. 

Fostering positive connections with iwi and Māori communities across our regions and helping them achieve their economic, educational and cultural development goals helps achieve the best outcomes for our Māori students. Our students and staff appreciate the warm welcome extended to them by many Marae across the Region, enhancing their learning experience in a broader context. Our relationships with the iwi groups representing tāngata whenua across the UCOL rohe are developing and deepening. In 2014 we refreshed our Accord with Te Puna Mātauranga o Whanganui, and together with the Whanganui District Council we have formed a tripartite consortia to improve student achievement. Also in 2014 our formal relationship with Tanenuiarangi Manawatu Incorporated (Rangitāne) was re-signed. 

To help with the successful transition from secondary school to tertiary study, UCOL actively works with local schools, particularly through Youth Transition, U-Skills Trades Academy, STAR and Taster programmes. We are always keen to connect with school principals, guidance officers and teachers and pupils to ease the secondary to tertiary experience.

Many businesses and community organisations support our students by offering scholarships year on year, and we are grateful for this ongoing support. These scholarships make a real difference and we encourage our communities to talk with us about the mutual benefits offering scholarships can bring. 

UCOL is also a founding member of the New Zealand ORCID Consortium, a national approach to the Open Researcher and Contributor ID or ORCID platform. Through this membership we are able to more effectively share our research outcomes with our communities.



Listening to industry needs and understanding future employment trends is the basis for developing UCOL's qualifications. It's important to us that industry values both our qualifications as work relevant and the graduates they employ, so we continually take a fresh look at what we offer and how we offer it to ensure we are providing relevant and exciting study options. 

Our staff and students connect with industry by industry association memberships, completing projects for local employers, attending and hosting industry events, and entering and winning industry awards.

Here are some examples of UCOL's industry connections which benefit staff and students:

  • A partnership with Canon New Zealand ensures our Photography staff and students are equipped with the latest imaging technology, industry resources and knowledge
  • Our sponsorship of Evento, Feilding High School's iconic Wearable Art Show for secondary schools brings together design, creative, business, hairdressing, beauty and many more disciplines
  • A partnership with the Jets Manawatu basketball team, provides a great platform for our Exercise and Sports Science staff and students to turn their practical skills into reality
  • Our specialist sports and rehabilitation facility U-Kinetics Te Huinga Waiora with real clients referred from MidCentral DHB means our Clinical Exercise Physiology students acquire valuable real-life work experience
  • Our Furniture Design and Making Lecturers' connectedness to industry means each year UCOL students are able to travel to the Kawerau National Woodskills Festival to compete against the best in the industry
  • We're active members of NZ Chefs regularly attending events with our industry peers, and judging regional and national Salons (competitions)
  • In addition to sponsoring the Emerging Chef class of the bi-annual Manawatu Hospitality Awards, UCOL helps organise the event


Tertiary Education sector

We take a collaborative approach to contributing to the Crown's educational priorities, making the most of opportunities to connect up with our colleagues in the Tertiary Education Sector. For example, UCOL is a founding member of the Tertiary Accord of New Zealand (TANZ), an alliance established between New Zealand's leading Institute of Technology and Polytechnics to improve educational opportunities and support services for students. 

We are also part of a consortium of tertiary providers that established New Zealand's first Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, Ako Aotearoa

In Whanganui we are part of the Whanganui Tertiary Education Collaboration (WTEC), a group of education providers collaborating and meeting several times a year. In 2016 WTEC published the Programme Directory of Learning Opportunities in Whanganui.

Internationally we are part of the International Association of Universities (IAU) and World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics.

In addition, we have a number of collaborative arrangements with other tertiary providers to help improve access to tertiary education and enhance employment prospects, as we understand the challenges faced by students who live in smaller communities throughout UCOL's wide regions. 

We also have arrangements with the Open Polytechnic, Horowhenua Learning Centre, Training For You, Ag Challenge Ltd, and Skills Update Training Institute for delivery of a number of programmes in our Regions. 

We host numerous tertiary education sector workshops, community events and conferences across our campuses as part of our contribution to a balanced society.