Providing quality education opportunities to players and staff is just one of a number of new initiatives under a major partnership agreement between Unitec Institute of Technology and the Auckland Rugby Union.
The partnership, officially announced today at a special powhiri held at Unitec’s Te Noho Kotahitanga marae, makes Unitec the official tertiary provider for Auckland Rugby.
Unitec Chief Executive, Dr Rick Ede, says the partnership adds a strong educational link to a close relationship that already exists between the two organisations.
“Unitec is fortunate to have already established close links with Auckland Rugby through our Department of Sport and now both parties can expand this further to complement each other’s strengths,” says Dr Ede.
“Both Unitec and Auckland Rugby have a great opportunity to develop educational links that will enable our elite rugby players to have a future outside of rugby. “
The new partnership also covers sponsorship from top flight rugby right down to the development level of rising young players.
Unitec officially begins its association with Auckland Rugby in next month’s ITM Cup as one of the major sponsors of the Auckland rugby team. The tertiary provider will also be one of the official sponsors of the Blues Super 15 team next year and will also have close links with the Under 18 Blues Development Squad.
There are also other exciting developments that are still being finalised which will further enhance the new partnership.
“The relationship we will establish with these young players of the future will again be significant. It will open up further educational opportunities for a key group of individuals who have the potential to be role models as they become professional rugby players,” says Dr Ede.
Auckland Rugby CEO, Andy Dalton, says the partnership will bring mutual benefits to both organisations.
“Our desire to develop players with natural rugby talent as well as skills off the field ties in well with our Unitec partnership.
“Offering people involved at various levels of Auckland Rugby as well as the Blues an opportunity to further develop themselves with programmes offered by Unitec is a very positive arrangement.”
The partnership continues the strong links already established between the two organisations since the Auckland team began training at Unitec’s Mt Albert campus in 2007. The team’s management unit is also based at Mt Albert, which is also the training ground for the Blues.
The Auckland ITM Cup team will sport the Unitec logo on their playing shorts during the national provincial competition.