A new strategic partnership between the University of Waikato and the Hamilton Multicultural Services Trust (HMS Trust) aims to improve the economic and social wellbeing of the migrant and former refugee community in Hamilton and the Waikato.
HMS Trust Executive Chair Claire van der Most says the partnership offers a valuable pathway for members of the refugee and migrant community to access tertiary study.
“It’s about providing people with the opportunity to access study, particularly for those who might not normally have a history of tertiary education in their family,” Claire says. “Tertiary education opens doors to social connection, mental and social wellbeing and, of course, employment and economic opportunities.
“We’re really excited to explore some ideas around simple things like our communities accessing the world class facilities at the university for celebrations and events - that we can in turn share with our wider community.”
Claire says the Trust will also be available to assist people identify degrees and qualifications offered at the university that may be applicable to their life experiences and education.
“In the broader term, though, this is really about bringing our communities together. Through removing some of those barriers to tertiary education, the university becomes a key part of our community and we, in turn, become a part of it.”
Claire acknowledged the work of Professor Asad Mohsin, who has been on the board of the Trust for a number of years.
“Asad has had lots of involvement with the Waikato Muslim community of course, and he’s been a real driver to bring our two organisations together. It’s wonderful to have him and the university on board.”
The University is looking at scholarships to encourage participation in university study, including access to Pathways College. Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley, says the arrangement also opens doors for shared events and research opportunities.
“We look forward to hosting a range of events together with the Trust, and to playing our part to be a safe space for our migrant and refugee communities to come together and be a part of this, their new home.
“The University of Waikato is committed to providing a first-class education to students from all around the world. Through a variety of introduction courses and classes right through to PhD study and research opportunities, our international students provide experience, insight and passion to their studies. We are excited to have a closer connection to the refugee and migrant communities and look forward to welcoming future students.”