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NZTech Update – Developing work ready skills

Kia Ora

This weekend, I reviewed the preliminary results from the recent Internship Survey as part of the Digital Skills Forum work to address the ongoing skills challenges we all face.  With 500 responses the survey provides a statistically significant sample size which will allow the Digital Skills Forum members (NZTech, IT Professionals, NZRise, MBIE, DIA, Ministry of Education and TEC) to use it to develop real solutions.

In the past 12 months, only 175 of the responding firms hosted a paid intern. While this is good to see, the numbers are way too low.  According to the Digital Skills Report, roughly 5000 university students graduate each year with a computer science or information technology degree.  The industry is telling us that most graduates lack work readiness skills and that the skills shortage is mostly for staff with three to five years experience.  Ideally, all students would experience internships to help accelerate their work readiness.  However, this seems like a  chicken and egg situation.

For those employing interns, 82% agree that interns do useful work, 69% agree the interns bring new ideas into the workplace, 78% say the interns inject energy into their organisation, and 96% say they gain satisfaction from supporting the next generation and giving back to the sector.

The main reason organisations are not taking on interns are a lack of resources to manage or support them, or a lack of suitable work for an intern. Most the organisations (87%) not taking interns still believe internships are a good idea. So it seems the main issue is the difficulty or perceived difficulty of supporting an intern.

While 42% of those engaging an intern have their own intern process, it can still be challenging to find and manage them.  Summer of Tech is the premier intern placement program and last year, 3,687 students registered for their program, they prepared 987 in boot camps and placed 214 interns.  So if ready made and fully supported interns are available, but not being taken up, what is the real problem?

Personally, I believe employers are being too risk adverse and most do not have the scale or experience to be able to develop an intern program that will help them successfully resolve their ongoing skills challenges.  Additionally, the current solutions are too fragmented and the quality is variable.  Fortunately, as we analyse the survey data we are on the way to solving this dilemma.  Already the data is showing a few possible solutions to help streamline the flow of work ready students into high paying digital technology jobs.

This is not something the Government or industry can solve alone.  Please consider what you may be able to do, to help encourage more kids into tech and help those about to graduate develop work ready skills.

Have a great week.

Nga mihi
Graeme Muller

Attend this month

Discover AgriTech!

Meet the UpStarters


Join the 2018 Agritech New Zealand Roadshow this month.  Register to attend this free event series in Auckland,  Hamilton, Tauranga Palmerston North, Wellington, NelsonLincoln and Dunedin.

Join the AI Forum’s next Connect event on 30 October in Dunedin.  If you’re not on the New Zealand AI ecosystem map, please email the AI Forum to be included in the next update.

Join Canterbury Tech on 2 October in Christchurch.  Meet Melissa Jenner at Tech Futures Lab on 3 October.  Join NZSA on 9 October in Auckland for Garage to Global with Steve Corbett.


How do teenagers view the future? Find out at the Future of Work meetup on 17 October in Auckland.  Also join the Future of Education meetup on 17 October.  Enrolments are now open for the November Masters intake at Tech Futures Lab.

Make the most of Expo 2020 Dubai, with NZTE’s Gulf Opportunities Showcase on 24 October in Auckland and Hamilton, 26 October in Wellington and 25 October in Christchurch.  Register to reserve your free ticket.

Are you part of the InsurTech ecosystem?  Share your insights in the local landscape survey.  Join InsurTech’s Transforming Customer Engagement in the Digital Age on 4 October in Auckland.  The New Zealand FinTech Summit is 29 November in Auckland.


Blockchain is rapidly changing business  and the Blockworks conference, 12 October in Auckland, will showcase itspractical applications.  For a $100 discount use this promo code: NZTECH-Guests.

Netsafe’s new resources are now available.  Applications for NASA internships and New Zealand Space Agency scholarships close 12 October.  Entries for #TechRocketshipANZ close 23 November.

Attend the 2018 New Zealand Spatial Awards on 17 October in Wellington.  Save these 2019 event dates; Tech Marketers conference on 28 February, AI-Day on 28 March and Techweek 20-26 May.

Want to know more?  Sign up for the NZTech weekly update, it’s free and will take less than a minute!

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