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Celebrating our newest graduates

18 August, 2023
News and events

We celebrated the achievements of graduates from a wide range of programmes at the Auckland Town Hall today.

Graduates from OPAIC, Future Skills Academy, Otago Polytechnic Dunedin, as well as the College of Work-based Learning, crossed the stage during today’s ceremony.

Gus Gilmore, Pourangi Ako, Deputy Chief Executive Ako Delivery, Te Pūkenga, welcomed graduates and congratulated them on their achievements.

He also acknowledged the teachers, friends, whanau, and colleagues who had helped students get to where they were today.

He said everyone would now venture down different pathways and he hoped the memory of what they had achieved during their study journey would stay with them.

“We can prepare for any future by being flexible, resilient, connected, and never seeing learning as a destination but instead a lifelong process of enrichment and growth,” he said.

Brett O’Riley, Chief Executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association of New Zealand, gave the graduation address, telling graduates the international student community here in Auckland epitomised what it was to be an international city.

“It adds so much richness to the city and the country of Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Brett shared his thoughts on the journey graduates were about to embark upon.

He said two of the most significant issues for the business community were climate change and generative artificial intelligence.

Brett has recently taken on a role as one of New Zealand’s representatives on the APEC Business Advisory Council and leads the climate change activity within the sustainable workstream.

“None of us can be oblivious to the impact that climate change is having across the world but notably in our regions and the need for our economy to decarbonise at pace,” said Brett.

Many of today’s graduates would have the opportunities in big and small ways to contribute to that effort to decarbonise.

Generative AI was transforming how people were doing their work, said Brett.

“One of the things I’ve learned in my career is to be open-minded about opportunities.”

The great thing about studying was not just the skills you learned but “the ability to learn how to learn”, he said.

Using the skills they’d learned during their study and adapting those skills to technologies such as generative AI would serve them well.

“I don’t think there will be a single sector in our economy that will not be impacted by AI in some way,” said Brett.

The other exciting thing for New Zealand was its ability to leverage off its multicultural population.

The connections graduates made during their studies would be invaluable for them, Aotearoa, and wherever they found themselves in the world, he said.