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NZTech Inform – Questions that need answers

Yesterday morning, I was helping at our daughter’s surf life saving club training.  Just a few hours later, we learned New Zealand’s Alert Levels were changing.  In Auckland, we have entered Alert Level 3 and have been asked to stay at home and work remotely if possible.  So, instead of catching the bus to school this morning, our daughter joined her class online.  We’ve been here before and we can do it again.
However, as the reality of lockdown sets in, it further highlights the delays for the tech firms desperately wanting to bring tech talent into New Zealand.  I can understand how frustrating it must be to have customer demand you can’t meet, because you’re unable to access enough skilled workers.
I have recently had tech firms saying they should join forces and fund their own Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facility to ensure highly skilled tech talent reaches our shores.  It may seem like a quick fix, but involves complex logistics.  Recent Bloomberg calculations suggest it is likely to take seven years before the pandemic ends and international borders return to some form of normal.  Considering the analysis, doesn’t it make more sense to help grow local talent and upskill our own workforce?

NZTech continues to advocate for better access for digitally skilled workers through the MIQ system, however we are also working closely with the Ministry of Education, the Tertiary Education Commission and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on improving the flow of local talent. 

Next week, I am meeting with the CEO’s of the Ministry of Education and the tertiary Education Commission and their teams to align priorities from the recommendations of the DIgital Skills Aotearoa report.  The questions that need addressing include:

  • How quickly can we develop a digital apprenticeship?
  • What can industry be doing to help encourage more students to study tech?
  • Can we make internships easier and better for both the industry and the graduates?
  • What changes to courses are needed to better support upskilling of the workforce?

Finally, there was an article in this weekend’s New Zealand Herald about a  tech student with autism, who is looking for a part time job or work experience.  She has been turned down by 40 companies.  Surely, someone in the Wellington tech scene or a local game developer has enough confidence in their own ability to take on neuro-atypical talent?

Stay safe and stay connected.

Ngā mihi 

Graeme Muller

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