A breakthrough agreement for Chinese students to study for a wine industry degree in New Zealand has been signed between Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) and the Beijing University of Agriculture (BUA).
The agreement was signed in Nelson by NMIT chief executive Tony Gray and BUA president Professor Huimin Wang.
The joint degree will see BUA students undertake a three-year food science degree in China, spending a fourth year at NMIT’s Marlborough campus to achieve a Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking.
NMIT already has agreements to deliver its arts, IT, business and civil engineering degree programmes in China to six universities but this is a first for wine.
Chief executive Tony Gray says it’s a significant development for both countries – and an accolade for NMIT’s wine degree programme. The agreement had been three years in the making.
“Being selected by Beijing University of Agriculture shows the regard the Chinese have for our teaching programme. We say it’s a work-ready, world-ready degree and this arrangement is further validation of that.”
Tony says NMIT has carefully targeted overseas markets to develop its intake of foreign students and promote its programmes. Chinese students are already studying locally full-time for the wine degree and will soon be joined by final-year students from the Beijing university.
“Being able to add to our Chinese student numbers adds welcome diversity to our Marlborough campus.”
Tony says Chinese graduates will be able to bring new expertise to their country’s growing wine industry, applying their NMIT experience which emphasises hands-on learning.
“Students simply can’t get that sort of on-the-vineyard experience at home.”