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Private tertiary education celebrates success at annual ITENZ awards

Private tertiary education celebrates success at annual ITENZ awards
Award winners (from left) Charlie Phillips (Queenstown Resort College), Andrea Ross (People Potential), Jacqui Byrne (NZ Fashion Tech Ltd), Thea Treahy-Geofreda (NZ College of Chiropractic), ITENZ chair Christine Clark, ITENZ deputy chair Mike Saywell and Val Marshall-Smith (NZ Fashion Technology) in Queenstown
Award winners (from left) Charlie Phillips (Queenstown Resort College), Andrea Ross (People Potential), Jacqui Byrne (NZ Fashion Tech Ltd), Thea Treahy-Geofreda (NZ College of Chiropractic), ITENZ chair Christine Clark, ITENZ deputy chair Mike Saywell and Val Marshall-Smith (NZ Fashion Technology) in Queenstown


The country’s top private tertiary performers and the increasing importance of private tertiary providers were celebrated at the Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand Awards (ITENZ) held in Queenstown last week.

ITENZ, the national organisation representing 52 per cent of NZQA-registered private tertiary institutions, recognised students, tutors and education providers at the awards held as part of its annual conference.

The conference coincided with official figures that show private tertiary providers are outperforming their state education counterparts when it comes to graduate outcomes, course completion, student retention, qualification achievement, progression to employment and meeting the Government’s targets of increasing the number of international students.

ITENZ chair Christine Clark says the contribution of private providers was critical to achieving the Government’s goal of doubling the numbers of international students by 2025.

“The industry is worth $2.4 billion now and they want to increase it to $5 billion by 2025. The private tertiary sector is playing a huge role in achieving this goal – because it’s where the innovation, nimbleness and flexibility is. It is also a caring and quality sector – private tertiary providers really look after their students,” Clark says. “It’s also where the growth has been over the past year. According to Immigration New Zealand figures, international students in the private tertiary sector are up 92 per cent this year compared to 2013 figures. This compares to a 41 per cent increase for polytechnics and 10 per cent for universities in the same period.”

Queenstown Resort College, which offers degrees in Adventure Tourism Management and Hospitality Management plus business and executive education courses, was awarded Provider of the Year. QRC has a 90 per cent course completion rate, a 90 per cent retention rate and 97 per cent of its graduates enter the workforce or higher education.

QRC chief executive Charlie Phillips says: “When interacting with other providers it is obvious just how genuine and committed they all are to the successful outcomes of the students – the pride people have in this sector and the success stories are inspirational. Considering the members of ITENZ, it is humbling and an absolute honour to be recognised in this way for what we have achieved.”

The award for International Student of the Year went to Thea Treahy-Geofreda, a Canadian student of the New Zealand College of Chiropractic, based in Auckland.

“To be recognised by colleagues and community at College, and on grander scale by ITENZ is incredible. NZ College of Chiropractic is recognised as one of the top three colleges in the world. I’ve been able to experience adventure while travelling here and get a world-class education while I’m at it. Plus I’m able to follow my vision and purpose with the support of College along the way,” Treahy-Geofreda says.

Tutor of the Year went to Alan Hoskin from Ag Challenge in Whanganui. Ag Challenge specialises in training for the automotive/engineering, agriculture, building and construction and veterinarian industries. Hoskin, who tutors building and construction, also volunteers in Samoa and Kenya.

Awarded Support Person of the Year was Auckland’s Jacqui Byrne from NZ Fashion Technology Ltd, who manages tutorial staff at all three NZ Fashion Technology sites in Auckland and one in Wellington. NZ Fashion Technology also won the inaugural Excel Corporation Entrepreneurship in Education Award.

NZ Fashion Technology’s academic director Val Marshall-Smith says: “The awards build morale within our team, kudos among industry stakeholders, government departments and students. Our belief is that if our students are successful, then we are successful. This is a reflection of student success as well. We enter these awards as validation for our students and our organisation; it’s great for busines.”

The award for Student of the Year went to Thelma Scanlon-Marino, from Training for You in Whanganui. Overcoming huge tragedy and personal loss, the mother-of-11 is a great success story – no longer dependent on the benefit and now employed.

Andrea Ross, from People Potential in Whangarei took out the Leadership Award – recognised for outstanding contribution to an organisation, society or in a particular field.

ITENZ deputy chair Mike Saywell says the winners each have extraordinary stories that show they go above and beyond ordinary education.

“These are high-quality New Zealand tertiary education institutions – some offering up to PHD level – and it’s important that we celebrate their success,” he says.

“Private tertiary education providers are required to meet very high standards from NZQA – some beyond what polytechnics and universities do. All ITENZ members work extremely hard to get their product right because the consequences of getting it wrong are high. We are personally invested in New Zealand’s education future,” Saywell says.


ITENZ is the Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand (ITENZ), a national organisation representing private tertiary institutions in New Zealand. The Association is the largest association covering all areas of tertiary education and is recognised by the Government and government agencies as the main representative of the sector.

For more information, contact:
Christine Clark, ITENZ chair, 027 499 0142
Mike Saywell, ITENZ deputy chair, 021 764545 or

Celia Crosbie
Written by Celia Crosbie
Celia is an award-winning former journalist who has worked for newspapers and radio stations in New Zealand and magazines in the United Kingdom. She has worked in public relations in both NZ and London. Celia also specialises in digital media strategy and website copywriting for SEO.