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Another NZTech year has almost passed. Next week, I am looking forward to reviewing the year and sharing our plans for the next 12 months. Following our Annual General Meeting (AGM) we are hosting an entertaining debate with teams of tech leaders and students, contending if it is better to reskill your staff or employ graduates? Our AGM is always enjoyable, so if you’re in town, it would be great to see you in person. Please join me on 12 August in Auckland.
Two weeks ago, NZTech sent the results of the Critical Workers Border Exemption Survey to Minister’s Robertson, Clark and Faafoi to raise awareness that the current interpretation of their rules at the border was making it almost impossible to get critical tech staff into New Zealand. The results show that it is an interpretation issue with assessors defaulting to a response that the candidate ‘doesn’t have a unique experience or technical skill that is not readily accessible in New Zealand.’ However, some assessors are approving the same technical skills that other assessors are denying. While the data also shows that there are thousands of open jobs, graduate salaries exceeding $200,000 and increasing mental health issues – these are all signs of a chronic skills shortage, skills not readily available in New Zealand. I am hoping that following their recess last week, one of the Ministers will engage to address the issue in the coming days.
I was recently invited to join the Government’s R&D Advisory Group and today I am attending my first meeting where we will discuss options for in-year payments. Tomorrow, I am in Wellington for the AgriTechNZ strategy day. On Wednesday, I am presenting to a meeting of the Regional Skills Leadership Groups about the critical importance of digital skills for their regions, followed by a session with the Productivity Commission on their analysis of immigration settings. On Thursday, I return to Wellington for the LocationTech executive council meeting followed by an NZTech and IoT Alliance event about data and the industry transformation plan. If you’re in Wellington too, I look forward to seeing you.
In BioTechNZ news, the MedCan Summit, 12-13 October, has announced its full agenda. Early bird tickets end on 31 August. Also, nominations for the BioTechNZ executive council close on 17 August. There are four positions available.
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