DIY degree course

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Work experience counts towards qualification.

Otago Polytechnic is out to prove that Queenstowners are more qualified than they realise.

The polytech is bringing a type of do-it-yourself degree to the resort, in which a student’s working knowledge, skills and experience count towards gaining an academic qualification.

The polytech’s world-leading Centre for Assessment of Prior Learning (CAPL) believes its service “could be a highly valuable way of strengthening the Queenstown economy,” says manager Kris Bennett.

Forty-year-old Queenstown businessman Stefan Crawford – who picked up a Bachelor of Applied Management through CAPL – says after selling rafting company Extreme Green he thought:

“After all this time and experience learning the good and the bad of dealing with people, with markets, with business, finance, the whole lot, what the hell have I got to show for it?”

Through CAPL he realised “it was all there”.

“I was basically collating all the things that have happened to me from the time I left school through to last year – as you can imagine, you learn a load along the way.

“There are so many people who come to town, they’ve started their own thing, they might not necessarily have an academic background or qualification to say they’re experts in what they do, but if they’re successful in Queenstown they can succeed anywhere.”

Crawford says his degree proves “I have the ability to put together a strategy to manage and achieve a business goal”.

Bennett says the CAPL last year graduated more than 120 people in more than 33 different New Zealand Qualifications Authority subjects – courses cost from a few hundred dollars up to $5000.

Students don’t have to travel to the polytechnic’s Dunedin or Cromwell campuses and can fit study around their work.

“In difficult economic times like at the moment, people often think really seriously about getting qualifications,” says Bennett.

The local launch, open to all-comers, is at 4.30pm next Tuesday at Queens­town Resort College.