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ENZ prioritises sustainable growth after boom years

After two years of double digit growth in student enrolments and tuition revenue topping NZ$1bn, New Zealand is now focused on ensuring its growth is sustainable.

“ENZ is serious about our role to create a sustainable international education industry," ENZ chief executive Grant McPherson pledged at the 25th annual New Zealand International Education Conference in Aukland. Photo: The PIE News

In 2015, Auckland attracted almost two thirds of New Zealand’s international student population

Education New Zealand launched a raft of initiatives and programmes at the New Zealand International Education Conference (#NZIEC), held in Auckland this month, aiming to bolster the industry, after initial 2016 visa numbers indicated a drop in students.

The initiatives include regional promotion projects; professional development programmes; new study abroad opportunities; and a series of videos promoting the university, school and professional and vocational education (PAVE) sectors.

In his opening address, ENZ chief executive Grant McPherson also emphasised the importance of finding new ways to meet the needs of students and develop methods of delivery to keep the country at the forefront of the global education sector, before pledging: “ENZ is serious about our role to create a sustainable international education industry.”

“ENZ has worked in partnership with regional representatives to identify a ‘regional value proposition’ for 15 regions in New Zealand”

Key among ENZ’s work to improve New Zealand’s sustainability, the Regional Partnership Programme aims to improve the market share of its 15 regions. In 2015, Auckland attracted almost two thirds of the country’s international student population, more than six times the second highest region, Canterbury.

“ENZ has worked in partnership with regional representatives to identify a ‘regional value proposition’ for 15 regions in New Zealand,” confirmed Greg Scott, ENZ’s business development manager.

Scott told The PIE News the value propositions, which also used data compiled from government agencies, highlight the uniqueness of a region to shape its marketing materials.

Additionally, the value propositions are used for the Regional Portal, an online tool for students to explore and learn more about the regions.

“The key goal is to increase referrals sent from the Study in New Zealand website to institutions and regional cluster websites outside the Auckland region by 10% by 31 December 2016, compared to the six months from July 2015 to December 2015,” explained Scott.

Adding to the tools to help build sustainability, the Skills Lab, an online platform for industry professionals to develop their skills, was launched during McPherson’s opening speech.

ENZ general manager of business development Clive Jones said the initiative was developed to provide short professional development projects “people can snack on.”

“The goal is to increase referrals sent from the Study in New Zealand website by 10%”

The event also showcased a series of videos to promote the university, school and PAVE sectors.

The videos, released over the course of the year, were developed after industry consultation in mid-2014 identified individual sectors’ stories “as a key activity in the overarching and sector strategic roadmaps,” Kaylee Butters, ENZ international brand manager, said.

“This includes key messages articulating each sector’s unique benefits, as determined by the sectors themselves. Each story includes a sector film and visual assets that are available on the Brand Lab for download,” she told The PIE News.

The videos were created in addition to an ongoing series of student stories, which were played through the conference as well.

International education is the country’s fifth largest export sector, and Education New Zealand is aiming to grow the value of international education to $5bn by 2025.

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