Learners bound for China courtesy of PM scholarships


More than a dozen Otago Polytechnic students will expand their horizons courtesy of Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia.

Three Sports and Exercise students will undertake a six-week programme in Shanghai, China, that is focused on physical conditioning.

The Post Graduate Diploma of Applied Science learners will be involved in a collaborative physical conditioning group project that aims to connect emerging strength and conditioning coaches within the code of American Football.

Described as a “cross-cultural collaborative sports training programme”, the project builds on previous work by Brendon Timmins, Principal Lecturer, Institute of Sport and Adventure, Otago Polytechnic, who visited Shanghai Institute of Technology in 2014 and again in 2017.

Notably, the students’ supervisor, Matthew Blair, Principal Lecturer, Institute of Sport and Adventure, is the lead physical conditioning coach for the International Rugby Board’s referee training programme, as well as for the Oceania development region.

“The relationships developed by these two staff will allow the students not only access but also provide the support they need to be successful in this project,” says Megan Gibbons, Head of College, Institute of Sport and Adventure, Otago Polytechnic.

In addition, a cohort of nine third-year students from Otago Polytechnic’s Fashion and Communication Design programmes will visit a range of Chinese tertiary institutions following the latest round of Prime Minister’s Scholarships.

“The School of Design at Otago Polytechnic is passionate about the internationalisation of its students, graduates and staff,” says Dr Margo Barton, Head of Fashion.

“We believe that international awareness, skills and experiences — many being soft skills — will strengthen New Zealand’s education outcomes and the ability to trade with our Asian friends.

“We have considerable experience of working with partners in China on the Shanghai Dunedin Sister City Fashion Communication Project, which has been running since 2012.

“Design, in particular, is a vibrant field with a strong international culture. Being able to have our students engage with design outside of the country enhances the quality of the design degree.

“The experiences and impressions the students bring back with them will give added dimensions to the programme here at Otago Polytechnic, and stimulate a curiosity in their classmates to travel.”

In addition, Otago Polytechnic second-year Bachelor of Design (Fashion) student Emma Corbett has received an individual scholarship and will spend four months at Donghua University, Shanghai.

“I’m so happy to see that the PMSA has supported student Emma to study at Donghua University, arguably one of Chinas top fashion universities. This experience will surely set her up for a very successful, internationally connected fashion career.”

The Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia aims to strengthen New Zealand's ability to engage with key Asian trading partners, as well as improve the skills of the workforce.