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Friday 18 May 2012
A new and innovative joint venture between Unitec Institute of Technology and the Waitemata District Health Board will provide further opportunities for learning, innovation, research and collaboration among health practitioners, community agencies and more than 1000 Unitec health science and social practice students in Waitakere.
The Awhina Waitakere Health Campus, based in the heart of Waitakere Hospital, was opened today by Hon Paula Bennett, Minister for Social Development and Youth Affairs.
Awhina is aimed at embedding research, teaching and learning into organisational culture across the DHB.
“This link between education, research, innovation and health is vital,” says Minister Bennett. “It ensures that the health care provided is of the highest standard and helps to achieve better health efficiencies and more integrated services for the community.”
The building is already home to the Simulation Centre, which Unitec nursing students have been using since 2006. It will soon, however, become the hub of a health and education campus that will contribute to the creation of the future health workforce in West Auckland. Students and staff will benefit from a brand new 164-seat multi-purpose space with new study areas that provide comfortable learning spaces and are equipped with wireless network access. There are also spaces for research and a Collaboration Laboratory will provide space where innovative ideas can flourish.
Waitakere District Health Board CEO Dr Dale Bramley says, “The new campus will provide a stimulating learning, teaching and research environment that will meet both educational and workforce needs. We want local students to be able to enjoy first class learning and training close to home, and then build their careers with us. When health and education providers work together everyone benefits, from the students and health professionals to the wider community.”
Since Unitec opened its doors in Henderson ten years ago over 3000 students have been trained in health related programmes. Many of these students have had the benefit of having work-based learning at the Simulation Centre and within a wide range of Waitemata District Health Board services.
“Unitec needs to become more embedded in industry and business so we can blur the traditional boundaries between education and work, that way theory and practice are better linked so our graduates get more meaningful careers and employers get more productive talent”, says Unitec Chief Executive Dr Rick Ede. “The Awhina Health Campus is a great example of this fresh approach in action.”