The academic achievement of 180 Whitireia and WelTec graduates was celebrated this week in Auckland. The graduation ceremony was held at the Auckland Town Hall on Wednesday 23 May, with graduates recognised in front of hundreds of proud family members and guests. The ceremony included a rousing haka pōwhiri led by Haka Legends and Rā Winikerei Poutoko Tikanga Māori.
The graduates represent a wide range of disciplines and include many international students and students from the greater Auckland region. Chief Executive of Whitireia and WelTec, Chris Gosling, noted that diversity is a hallmark of vocational education and training, and Auckland students represent this not only in terms of who they are, but also in terms of what they have studied and the qualifications they have gained.
"WelTec’s addiction, alcohol and drug studies, counselling, and youth development graduates will be entering the social services sector in Auckland which has a significant skills shortage. Whitireia graduates will move into industries which include information technology, digital design, multi-media, journalism and radio broadcasting; through to hospitality management and professional cookery," said Gosling. "Our graduates are ready to make a contribution to the Auckland economy with applied qualifications that mean they are well-placed to meet the requirements of employers in the Auckland business and NGO sectors. We are confident our graduates have the skills they need to succeed in the workplace."
Graduate destination data for 2017 shows that more than 90% of Whitireia and WelTec graduates gained employment or went on to study at a higher level soon after completing their qualification.
Thomas Ben, winner of the first series of The Apprentice New Zealand and now a business owner, provided the keynote speech. Ben urged the graduates to continue to pursue their life goals now that they had achieved their academic success. "For me your life’s direction is where you focus your energy. Success doesn’t actually happen, it is a planned destination that needs to be clear."
In 2017, more than 1,250 tertiary students studied in Auckland with Whitireia and WelTec in a shared campus on Queen Street. A second graduation ceremony will be held later in the year on 23 November.
Figures provided by economic research agency BERL show that Whitireia and WelTec combined generated a total of $211.6m expenditure in the national economy in 2017. Similarly, this expenditure generated a total of $128.3m in GDP in the national economy.