For over ten years, Auckland Institute of Studies (AIS) had been looking for an accreditation programme that reflected their values and Kiwi edge. When it found out that education providers can now join the FernMark Licence Programme, AIS was first in line – a move that was well timed as New Zealand’s education sector reopens to international students.
Established in 1990, AIS is one of New Zealand’s largest and longest-established independent Tertiary Education Organisations. The private business school supplies high-quality education experiences to primarily international students and has a Category One rating from NZQA.
Founding Director and current CEO, Richard Smith, says the Auckland-based institute provides intimate class sizes, flexible entry dates and cross credit recognition which allows for personal, dedicated education experiences with strong pastoral care support.
AIS is one of several major educational organisations who have signed up to the FernMark Licence Programme, which expanded to include education providers and education businesses earlier this year, in recognition of New Zealand Story’s support for the sector.
The FernMark Licence Programme allows education providers, such as AIS, to closely align their international education experience with New Zealand’s national brand.
Speaking of the benefits to AIS, Smith said the FernMark will support the organisation to increase its differentiation amongst competitors and promote trust, authenticity and innovation in key international markets.
“We had seen how the FernMark acts as a stamp of authenticity and awareness for product-based businesses on a global stage, so, when the opportunity to become FernMark accredited was made available for education organisations, we jumped at the chance,” he says.
“As a provider of international education, having the backing of an internationally recognised programme just makes sense for us – we’re positive it will help us to promote our unique study experience, which is driven by Kiwi ingenuity.”
Since the start of the pandemic, AIS has significantly developed its online education capacity and capability, with a focus on increasing support and opportunities for students studying at home, both from abroad and within New Zealand.
While this was a necessary study alternative at the time, Smith says AIS is excited to officially welcome back international students in-person, as New Zealand’s border reopens.
“We've had a bit of a setback, obviously, with the borders being closed for over two years. Students have missed the opportunity to engage with their lecturers and classmates in person – as well as the plethora of other benefits they gain from studying in New Zealand – getting local work experience, absorbing Kiwi culture and contributing to their local communities.
“The FernMark has come at an ideal time for AIS, as we re-launch our Kiwi education experience with global audiences.”
Smith says people around the world identify ‘brand New Zealand’ as creating high-quality, authentic, and innovative products and experiences, and the FernMark acts as a stamp of verification that a business adheres to these standards.
“Aotearoa New Zealand is very well known in other contexts such as our high-quality food and beverage sector. There is significant potential for our international education sector to follow in these footsteps, especially as the industry recovers and rebuilds,” he says.
“For AIS, the FernMark will be a key contributor as we continue to grow into new markets and strengthen our global reputation. I’m sure the sector will become a strong part of the FernMark offering, and we look forward to increasing the number of future Kiwi students.”
To find out more about AIS, visit ais.ac.nz
With the international education market opening up to New Zealand education providers and businesses again, there has never been a better time to join the FernMark Licence Programme. New Zealand Story has created two special licensing offers for education providers and businesses. To find out more about the special offers available visit the FernMark website here.