Universal College of Learning

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Universal College of Learning (UCOL)
Universal College of Learning Logo - 2013.jpg
Established 1907
Academic staff
217 (2016)
Students 6,400 students (2016), 31% Maori, 60% students under 25, Students from 62 different countries
Location Palmerston North, Wanganui, Masterton, Auckland, New Zealand
Affiliations Public NZ TEI
Website www.ucol.ac.nz

The Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is a New Zealand Government TEI (Polytechnic) located primarily in Palmerston North but has campuses also in Whanganui, Masterton and Auckland.[1]


There are four campuses: UCOL Palmerston North, UCOL Whanganui, UCOL Wairarapa and UCOL Auckland.

Palmerston North Campus Facilities[edit]

Whanganui Campus Facilities[edit]

Wairarapa Campus Facilities[edit]


UCOL was founded in 1907 and was known as the Palmerston North Technical School. In 1971 it became the Palmerston North Technical Institute and in 1983 the Manawatu Polytechnic. At the time it specialised in trade apprenticeship courses, and in hobby, art, and craft classes, along with a range of night school programmes in business studies for working adults.

As successive governments placed emphasis on vocational education, the Polytechnic broadened the courses offered, but retained a focus on core vocational programmes. It now delivers Foundation and Certificate programmes, Diplomas, Degrees and Post-Graduate options in a range of subjects as well as community based programmes.

In 1987 the Manawatu Polytechnic opened a small campus in Levin and the 1996 approval by government of a $22 million capital injection, enabled the rebuilding and consolidation of the Palmerston North campus onto a central city site.

In late 1998 the Manawatu Polytechnic changed its name to the Universal College of Learning (UCOL).

UCOL expanded in January 2001 with the incorporation of the Wairarapa Regional Polytechnic and the integration of the Wanganui Regional Community Polytechnic on 1 April 2002.

The Wanganui Regional Community Polytechnic is now called Whanganui UCOL and incorporates the Wanganui School of Design.

Strategic Priorities[edit]

UCOL is focused on delivering the six priorities of the Tertiary Education Strategy 2014-2019.[2]

  • Delivering skills for industry
  • Getting at-risk young people into a career
  • Boosting achievement of Māori and Pasifika
  • Improving adult literacy and numeracy
  • Strengthening researched-based institutions
  • Growing international linkages

Relationships-Based Teaching[edit]

UCOL is the first to employ a relationships-based teaching approach in a tertiary education setting. Called Te Atakura,[3] the programme was developed with the support of education consultancy Cognition Education Limited[4] and Emeritus Professor Russell Bishop. It is designed to enhance Māori success, develop high performing teaching teams and provide ongoing support services for learners.[5]

Study Offerings[edit]

UCOL offers over 100 programmes of study at certificate, diploma and degree level in the following subject areas:

  • Agriculture (agribusiness, beekeeping, farming)
  • Arts & design (graphic design, animation, glass making, fashion design, printmaking, illustration, interior design, music, photography)
  • Beauty & hairdressing
  • Business (administration, management, project management, accounting, tourism, small business)
  • Chef training & hospitality
  • Education (teaching adults, early childhood education)
  • Foundation skills (Māori language, sign language, computing skills, English language)
  • Sport & exercise (physical conditioning, clinical exercise physiology, sport performance)
  • Nursing
  • Vet nursing
  • Health & science (mental health, science, social work)
  • Medical imaging
  • Information technology
  • Traditional trades (automotive, engineering, electrical engineering, carpentry, building, construction, joinery, architecture, fabrication, furniture making)
  • Security
  • In school programmes - part-time study options for high school students seeking to transition into tertiary study whilst attaining NCEA credits. In 2016, 180 secondary school students graduated under one of the In school programmes, U-Skills.[6]

In late 2016 UCOL secured funding from the Tertiary Education Commission's Refugee English Language Fund to give a limited number of eligible refugees the opportunity to study New Zealand Certificate in English at Level 3 or Level 4 free of charge.

Council Awards[edit]

Each year UCOL recognises people in the community who have made significant contributions to their local areas and society in general, with the UCOL Council Honours Awards.


  1. ^ "UCOL's official campus details website page". UCOL. UCOL. 
  2. ^ Zealand, Education in New. "Tertiary Education Strategy 2014 - 2019". Education in New Zealand. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
  3. ^ "Te Atakura". Universal College of Learning. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
  4. ^ "We found the "glue" to work collaboratively | Cognition Education". cognitioneducation.com. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
  5. ^ "Enhancing educational outcomes - Ako Aotearoa". akoaotearoa.ac.nz. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
  6. ^ "U-Skills graduates recognised". Universal College of Learning. Retrieved 2017-03-26. 

External links[edit]