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Demand for digital skills

Kia ora,

Last week at the International Forum on Cultivating AI Pioneers for the Green Revolution in Taiwan, I was surprised to learn that most other countries are also challenged in attracting enough students to meet demand for digital skills. 

There was plenty of interest in Aotearoa New Zealand’s TechStep initiative, targeted at young Kiwi’s to inspire them to consider tech jobs. Last week TechStep broke the 1 million mark for audience engagement and 106,000 people have attended their events throughout the country. During the next few months, their calendar has a further 41 events scheduled with over 45,000 more rangatahi predicted to attend. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, so over time we should expect to see increasing participation in digital tech courses.

The Australian Future Skills Organisation, similar to our Toi Mai workforce development council, presented interesting research on the impact of gen-AI on skills development for business and tech sectors. These sectors have the highest exposure to gen-AI, but it is unlikely full automation of tasks will occur. However, it’s more likely AI tools will be used for augmentation and increased productivity. This means courses need to be rapidly adapted to teach students how to leverage gen-AI, for example in software development.

We were also able to compare notes on the use of hackathons to stimulate participation in tech.  While I’m very much looking forward to our AI Forum’s AI Hackathon in August, I was impressed to discover the Taiwanese President is running her sixth annual hackathon to use government open data to solve social problems and optimise the efficiency of government.  I posted a challenge to Minister Collins – maybe she could do something similar as part of her Digitising Government portfolio.

This week I am working on how to help KiwiSaaS continue. There doesn’t appear to be a lack of support or desire, just a lack of money. 

Despite recent austerity measures, the agritech industry is also committed to a collaborative future. AgriTechNZ’s Brendan O’Connell says the recent cuts removing $5 million annually from a sector generating $2 billion in revenue, hinders global relationship development. As Government agencies pull back, greater industry collaboration is needed, now more than ever. The sector is dedicated to a shared future aligned with the Government’s goal to double industry revenue to $4 billion by 2030, says Brendan.

Finally, we are seeking board nominations for the upcoming NZTech Board election. Learn more.

Ngā mihi
Graeme Muller

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