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Business School offers “blended learning” for students who need flexibility

News from Whitireia and WelTec
The Whitireia and WelTec School of IT and Business has put in place a ‘blended’ learning option for students who want to upskill, but need flexibility with their timetable. The blended learning option includes two days on campus and two days of remote learning.

School of IT and Business Programme Manager, Ana Simmons explains how and why they have made this adjustment: “We had such a great response to the online programme we provided during lockdown that we wanted to keep elements of this as an option to allow for more flexibility of when and where students learn.

“The students love being able to go back and watch classes again, if they had missed something the first time around. We also understand that now more than ever, people need to work and look after their families so offering the course this way allows for the realities of people’s lives.”

“Many people now are wanting to retrain, particularly if their work is in a sector impacted by Covid, and we want to encourage these people to take the brave step to learn new skills. But sometimes a barrier to that is the pressures of their daily commitments,” says Ana.

Sequoia Frost, who studies at the Whitireia campus has been in the workforce for 20 years and is also the mother of a twelve-year-old high-needs son. In July she enrolled in the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Administration and Technology) Level 4 programme to upskill and progress from the various jobs she had been doing.

“Now that my son is in a specialist school, I really wanted to take this step,” says Sequoia. “The blended learning option helped make the decision for me. It means that I can drop my son at school in Porirua each day and the two days of remote learning can be worked around him too.”

The course is a combination of practical and theoretical skills which are split between workshops and remote learning.

“When we are on campus we learn in a simulated business environment,” explains Sequoia. “Each student gets the chance to run the reception, do events planning, travel planning and human resources. It is a great – but safe – way to work on people skills and office interactions. The class varies from students in their 20’s to students in their 60’s, so you get a really wide variety of experience and opinions which is very interesting but everyone is so welcoming and inclusive – it is a great learning environment.”

Whitireia also offers flexible learning for students who are in full-time work. Ex-fashion designer Leanne Harvey decided to retrain in an industry that is more stable, as she works towards retirement.

“I spent the early part of my career working for New Zealand fashion companies, and as they all started moving offshore I went into contracting in the art department on films,” says Leanne.

“It was really fun and exciting, but being a contractor meant that work came in ebbs and flows. Now that my kids are growing up I want to have more stability but I couldn’t afford to stop work to retrain which is what is so great about Whitireia – I can do both!”