An $8 million development to create an Education Centre for 500 equivalent full time health-related students annually is seeking assistance from the Shovel Ready Infrastructure fund. The education centre proposes to bring together all healthcare and social assistance education at UCOL into one purpose-built facility, to meet the increasing demands of the health sector and social services.
UCOL Executive Director Education and Applied Research, Dr Jerry Shearman, said the Centre will provide the capacity to increase nursing and health-related student numbers by 50% over time, and provides an opportunity to offer education in response to community and mental health needs. “Now more than ever, our regions’ need suitably qualified health workers. The Centre will provide an education environment for the healthcare professionals of tomorrow.”
Health education represents a third of UCOL’s activity and continues to have strong demand - providing training for people to work in nursing, medical imaging and community health environments. The new Centre will provide better contemporary education experiences for students, and well as greater connections with the health and social service sectors, and community health organisations. The Centre will enable UCOL to progress the whole of life education training that is required to meet the community’s needs.
Planning is well advanced, with a target completion date for the Centre of March 2021. “The project is hammer ready and will make an economic difference to our region both during and post construction,” said Dr Shearman. An existing building owned by UCOL on the Manawatū campus, which is currently unoccupied due to seismic requirements, has been identified as the ideal place for the Centre.
The proposal has the support of the Palmerston North Council, CEDA, MidCentralDHB, iwi and the broader health sector. UCOL’s healthcare education is a foundation to the regions’ health services and plays a vital role in the employment opportunities and employment demands of the region.
Photo: A concept of the proposed Education Centre for Healthcare and Social Assistance.