Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics

Universal College of Learning

Chair: Trevor Goodwin
Chief Executive: Paul McElroy
Main Campus Key Main Campus
Palmerston North
Other Campus Key Other Campus Locations
Whanganui, Masterton
Educational Performance: Confident
Self-assessment: Confident
Funding by TEC
100% Teaching and Learning
TEC Funding
Delivery by Level
10.3% Level 1–2
40.8% Level 3–4
13.7% Level 5–6
35.1% Level 7–8
 Level 9–10
Delivery By Level
Delivery by Subject
28.1% Health
13.9% Creative Arts
13.0% Management and Commerce
11.2% Food, Hospitality and Personal Services
9.8% Engineering and Related Technologies
24.0% Other
Delivery By Subject

Universal College of Learning (UCOL) continued to improve its educational performance in 2012. UCOL’s financial performance remained in a healthy position, although not as strong as in 2011.


The 2012 year was described by Chair Trevor Goodwin in the Annual Report as particularly challenging but one where real progress had been made. Achievements that demonstrated responsiveness included: successful completion of the Safer UCOL Buildings Project; a successful NZQA External Evaluation Review; Project Transform’s role in improving educational performance; UCOL’s contribution to the draft Whanganui Education Plan and joint Taskforce; and the opening of new facilities. These included the Regional Trades and Technology Centre in Palmerston North, Le Cordon Bleu Institute in Wellington and the U-Kinetics health and wellness training facility in Wellington. U-Kinetics was opened in collaboration with the MidCentral District Health Board, MidCentral Primary Health Organisation, Health Workforce New Zealand and TBI Health.

Chief Executive Paul McElroy highlighted the role of Project Transform, an initiative introduced in 2010 to lift educational performance through improved teaching and learning. Its impact was reflected in the results of the 2012 NZQA External Evaluation Review, which provided a ‘confident’ rating for UCOL in both educational performance and self-assessment, with the Bachelor of Nursing programme receiving an ‘excellent’ rating. UCOL developed an innovative relationships-based programme designed to improve the educational success of students. The goals are to increase the number of Māori and Pasifika graduates, produce graduates who are culturally competent, and achieve parity in completions between Māori and non-Māori students.

In 2012, UCOL’s enrolments decreased by 2 percent (53 EFTS). The majority of UCOL’s delivery was at Levels 3–4 (41%), Levels 7–8 (35%) and Levels 5–6 (14%). The largest areas of delivery were Health (28%), Creative Arts (14%) and Management and Commerce (13%).

Participation of the TES priority groups (Māori, Pasifika and under-25-year-olds) either increased or remained the same as for 2011. Participation for Māori increased to 26 percent and was above the ITP sector average (22%), as was participation for under-25-year-olds at 64 percent, compared with the sector average (52%). In 2012, UCOL had 253 full fee-paying international EFTS (428 students).

UCOL performed well in terms of its key performance indicators as outlined in its Statement of Service Performance.


Increases in each of the educational performance indicators demonstrated improvements in the effectiveness of UCOL’s education delivery. UCOL was above the ITP sector averages for student retention and progression but below average on course and qualification completion.

In general, achievement for the TES priority groups was below the ITP sector averages but showed improvement on 2011 performance. A particularly strong increase occurred in course completion for Māori, which was up 8 percentage points, compared with the previous year.


Recommendations from a 2012 governance effectiveness review have contributed to governance development at UCOL.

Total revenue increased in 2012 by $0.8 million (1.5%). The surplus of $56,000 (0.1%) was down on the 2011 result of $2.2 million (4.2%). UCOL reported costs for restructuring of $1.1 million, $1.0 million for addressing building seismic risks and a $0.9 million loss from the Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand Institute Partnership Ltd.

A revaluation write down in 2012 resulted in a reduction in equity of $15.0 million and contributed to the fall in the asset value.

UCOL faces a significant reduction in revenue of $2.6 million in 2013 and, in the last quarter of 2012, management embarked on a process to realign UCOL’s activities with the new lower funding levels.

TES Priorities

2012 Performance UCOL ITP sector 
Students under 25 64% 52%
Māori 26% 22%
Pasifika 5% 10%
Course Completion
2012 Performance  UCOL ITP sector 
All  73% 79%
Students under 25 71% 78%
Māori 65% 73%
Pasifika 64% 73%
Qualification Completion
2012 Performance  UCOL ITP sector 
All 65% 70%
Students under 25 59% 63%
Māori 51% 61%
Pasifika 60% 62%
Of the tertiary-aged population in the UCOL region, 18% were identified as Māori, 2% as Pasifika, and 23% as under the age of 25 years. (Based on Statistics NZ 2011 population projections.)
Overview of Educational Performance – Formal SAC Funded EFTS only
Enrolments % of ITP sector 2010 2011 2012
EFTS 5% 3,410 3,204 3,151
Students 3% 5,500 4,594 4,242
Educational Performance Indicators ITP sector 2010 2011 2012
Successful Course Completion 79% 62% 71% 73%
Qualification Completion 70% 51% 65% 65%
Student Retention 60% 51% 55% 65%
Student Progression L1-4 37% 28% 35% 43%
Overview of Financial Performance*
Summary Financial Statements ($000) 2010 2011 2012
Total government revenue $35,925 $31,527 $31,744
Domestic student fees $13,198 $14,118 $13,504
International student fees $2,784 $3,544 $3,293
Other income (including research) $4,658 $3,169 $4,585
Total revenue $56,565 $52,358 $53,126
Personnel $28,245 $27,960 $28,383
Total expenses $51,897 $48,964 $50,051
Net surplus (after unusual and non-recurring items) $4,668 $2,195 $56
Property, plant, equipment and intangibles $130,622 $121,951 $119,778
Total assets $156,332 $149,143 $131,007
Equity (net assets) $130,940 $124,224 $109,246
Net cashflow from operations $10,940 $7,932 $5,475
Purchase of property, plant, equipment and intangibles $4,496 $5,885 $17,866
Staffing FTE 432 433 447
Total EFTS to total staff FTE ratio 9 : 1 9 : 1 8 : 1
Total EFTS to teaching staff FTE ratio (academic and tutorial) 19 : 1 18 : 1 16 : 1