Why are we working on this?
Skills are critical to the growth of any sector. There is a long-standing shortage of skills at a variety of levels within the digital technologies sector, and gaps have previously been filled via immigration. At the same time, graduates from tech/digital courses are often struggling to find jobs.
A healthy pipeline of talent that is developed domestically is going to be vital to support the growth of the sector and its contribution to the economy. Skills development will also support an increase in the number of quality jobs that the sector supports.
Given the huge disruption to New Zealand’s labour market as a result of COVID-19, there is an opportunity for the digital technologies sector to absorb displaced workers from other industries, and training will be necessary to smooth this transition.
What are we trying to achieve?
A key focus of the workstream is to pilot initiatives that will bridge the education-to-employment pathway. We are looking to either design new programmes, or extend existing ones that are delivering positive results, that will ensure that graduates secure employment and that businesses in the digital technologies sector are filling vacant roles more readily. This isn’t to negate the need for businesses to invest in training and development of new recruits, but to help with the job matching process.
The workstream will also include a focus on ensuring that the needs of the digital technologies sector is heard in processes relating to the education and skills systems, including RoVE, and implementation of the digital curriculum.
We are also looking to improve pathways for groups that are currently underrepresented in the industry, including Maori, Pacifika, women. This will dig into how career pathways are signposted in the school system, as well as initiatives that can attract young Maori and Pacifica into digitech roles early in their working lives.
Relevant work underway
- Establishment of the Workforce Development Council for the Creative, Cultural, Recreation and Technology sectors
- Establishment of Regional Skills Leadership Groups
- Redeployment initiatives as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19
- Ongoing work of the ICT Grad schools, Summer of Tech
NZTech has updated research on skills within the industry including a survey of current and expected digital skills needs from the tech sector and across the economy, an analysis of the skills pipeline across education, an analysis of the transition from education to employment, and an analysis of diversity. This report, Digital Skills Aotearoa will be used to develop initiatives to address the various challenges across the skills pipeline.
For example, we are planning to explore opportunities to develop pilot initiatives that address the education-to-employment pathway (early discussions are underway with ChristchurchNZ and Ara (around tech apprenticeships), and the Pacific Skills Shift project).
Anything out of scope?
The workstream isn’t looking to drastically shift the focus of the education system, rather to demonstrate how well designed and supported initiatives can deliver better results within the existing framework.