Skills Pipeline

SKILLS PIPELINE

Ensure the sector can attract the skills that it needs to grow, at all levels, and that it is creating high quality jobs and careers for all New Zealanders, including in those groups currently under-represented.


The Skills workstream is well progressed and ready to move into an implementation phase.

The Skills Steering Group has been led by IT Professionals New Zealand, with a wide range of industry representation. It has produced a detailed Digital Skills and Talent Plan, with over 20 recommendations.

The priority for the next 12 months will be developing and then implementing a combined government and industry response to the Digital Skills and Talent Plan. The Steering Group believes it should be implemented as a package. Work will need to be done to cost the actions and flesh out the projects and co-ordinate resources across industry bodies and government.

The work of the Skills workstream is concerned with all aspects of the ITP: accelerated growth, strong foundations and greater Māori participation.

A key challenge for the implementation phase will be ensuring close and effective coordination between industry and key government agencies, such as the Ministry of Education, the Tertiary Education Commission and the Toi Mai Workforce Development Council.

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Lead Partners


Initial Work

Initial industry consultation identified an immediate need for better analysis and data to help inform discussion between the industry, the education system and government. With this information, partners could then identify areas of immediate opportunity for improvement and more complex areas where additional insights and discussion would be required.

There were also a number of important initiatives already being progressed in the education sector, such as the new Workforce Development Councils, Te Pūkenga, a refreshed Data and Digital Strategy for Learning and the review of Achievement Standards.

Digital Skills Report

NZTech, with support from MBIE, the Ministry of Education, Google and other industry partners, updated the 2017 research on digital skills, with the publication of Digital Skills for Our Digital Future, in January 2021.

Digital Skills and Talent Plan

Following eight months of work, the Skills Steering Group produced a Digital Skills Plan in July 2021. Following broad consultation and input, the final Digital tech industry plan for Skills and Talent was released in October 2021.

It includes 10 action areas and 23 recommended actions, which are proposed to be implemented as a package. The Plan is based around the need for a balanced approach, with industry investing in domestic skills development, government supporting initiatives and helping to drive change, while the education sector will ensure its work programmes support the overall transformation.


ACTION PLAN

MBIE will work with the Skills Steering Group and other agencies on a government response to the Digital Skills and Talent Plan. An implementation plan will be developed in conjunction with the Budget 2022-23 process. Some actions, however, can get underway immediately.

Reskilling/Upskilling

Given the potential for the Digital Technologies sector to create new careers for people looking to shift from another industry, we plan to do more work to investigate what is underway, and how any gaps around reskilling/upskilling can be addressed to ensure that there are appropriate avenues for New Zealanders to access training and guidance on the skills needed to join the sector.

Adopting the Skills Framework for the Information Age to drive for greater consistency of roles

The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) is a globally accepted benchmark for the skills and competencies related to ICT, digital transformation and software engineering. The most recent version gives individuals and organisations a common language to define skills and expertise in a consistent way.

MBIE and DIA will co-fund a country licence for SFIA in order to help address the challenge of many ill-defined employment role titles in New Zealand, across both the public and private sectors.

Internship/Apprenticeship – platform to match interns with placements

At present, tertiary education providers – including universities, ICT Graduate Schools, Polytechs and private providers – approach industry seeking work experience placements or internships for their students, on an ad hoc basis. The lack of co-ordination across different platforms that students use adds to the difficulty and the risks perceived by industry.

We will work to scope an open access digital platform for the digital tech internship and work experience market. This initiative will overcome a barrier in how companies search for and find appropriate interns, as well as benchmark best practice on the part of employers. It will include work to encourage companies to offer internships and also for all education providers to promote their students in the marketplace. The platform aims to be a one-stop-shop for industry.

This proposed initiative could be an industry joint venture involving a stakeholder co-design process to agree on best practice. This could be followed by the adoption and licensing of the platform to provide one single New Zealand wide marketplace for tech interns and work experience.

Internship/Apprenticeship – Ngai Tahu pilot

The Skills workstream will look to support initiatives to develop Digital Technologies apprenticeship models that work for learners, their whanau and industry. For example, Ngai Tahu is leading work to develop a suite of workbased learning products, using an apprenticeship model that can be delivered in a modular way. The work is designed to create a set of digital tech products based on the needs of industry, rangatahi and whanau, and will involve meaningful consultation with tech companies.

MBIE has agreed to support this work, given its alignment with the objectives of the Digital Technologies ITP. It is expected that documenting the insights and lessons obtained will benefit other groups looking to implement Digital Technologies apprenticeships.

Education/Attraction – Leveraging Techweek

Techweek is New Zealand’s only national festival of tech and innovation and is held throughout the country each May. It seeks to inspire, inform and educate business, community, educators and government. Given its profile and track record of attracting substantial domestic and international audiences, the event is an opportunity to profile career opportunities in the sector, as well as efforts to grow diversity of the workforce. Techweek22 will be used to showcase actions in this draft ITP that support the Skills and Talent Development and Māori Participation workstreams.

KEA network to identify critical digital skills

KEA is a global network of offshore citizens that gives New Zealanders living overseas the opportunity to engage and remain connected. The network can contribute positively to the aims of the Digital Technologies ITP. We plan to ask KEA to survey ex-pat New Zealanders in its network and create a report providing evidence and data relating to individuals with digital skills. This work will enhance the immigration pipeline of critical digital skills.

Immigration – ensuring that settings support targeted immigration of highly skilled roles that are not available in New Zealand

An immediate priority for many businesses in the sector is how they can secure approval to bring targeted experienced executives – both as employers and founders/mentors – into New Zealand, while international borders are partially or fully closed.

The Government recognises that globally experienced digital talent will be required to support the transformation and growth of our Digital Technologies sector. It will therefore be vital the immigration settings reflect this need.

In addition to a class exception for the sector, work has begun on being more precise about the roles that quality for visa exemptions and on helping to improve the efficiency and success of digital related visa applications.

The needs of the industry are consistent with the government’s objective to reset the immigration system towards facilitating higher skilled workers into the country to support economic growth. This work will be aligned with the SaaS Capability work.

All of Government Approach – role of the public sector as a large employer of digital skills

Public sector organisations are typically the largest employer of digital skills across regional New Zealand. DIA is responsible for the Digital Public Service Strategy, which includes a focus on digital capability and skills in the public service. One of the relevant programmes is GovTech, a digital graduate programme that exposes graduates over a two-year period to experiences in multiple agencies. It takes around 20 new graduates per year. This could be expanded to 40 or 60 graduates. There is also scope to increase the number of digital apprenticeships for Māori and Pacific peoples in the public sector by mainstreaming an apprenticeship pilot and potentially expanding its scope and scale to a wider range of disciplines.

Public sector CEs are observing shortages of digital/ICT staff and an increasing demand around digital skills across the public sector. Work is underway within the Digital Government Leadership Group to investigate actions to grow the pipeline. Given the tightening labour market for Digital Technologies skills, it is important that government and industry are aligning efforts to grow the overall talent pipeline.

Deep dive analysis of Pacific tech pipeline

Pacific people represent only 2.8 per cent of roles in the digital technology workforce. A companion report, drawing on the Digital Skills Report, will be developed to inform practical steps that will encourage more Pacific Peoples to enter the sector. The Pasifika In IT association is working with NZTech and the Ministry of Education on the project.