22 July 2014 · IT News

The New Zealand Government has announced it will invest $28.6 million in operating funding over the next four years to build three ICT Graduate Schools in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. There’s a shortage high-level skilled workers in New Zealand and abroad as current education provision is not meeting the breadth of ICT labour market needs. These schools will future-proof the IT jobs in New Zealand and take the training of work-ready ICT graduates to another level.

Producing skilled workers for IT jobs in New Zealand

This funding is a Budget 2014 initiative and aligns with the Government’s Business Growth Agenda. The schools will be strategically placed close to ICT firms in the country’s major cities and provided with funding for education, research and collaborative initiatives to attract top students and academics and connect them with leading experts in ICT.

“We’re expecting to see a combination of final-year under-graduate and post-graduate programmes at the schools, plus an innovative use of internships and research with high-tech firms, to improve the connections between providers and businesses, and ensure a smooth transition of students into work,” Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says.

The New Zealand ICT industry is making a name for itself on the world stage, and attracting a lot offshore attention. Mr Joyce affirms “It is crucial New Zealand lifts significantly the number of people with high level ICT skills and knowledge so they can help drive innovation in this sector and build a more productive and internationally competitive economy.”

IT Graduate Schools Workshops and Tender

The tender for the graduate schools will be managed by the Tertiary Education Commission with support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Workshops are being be held this month with key representatives from the tertiary sector and industry to refine the proposed outcomes of the programme prior to the tender process. It is expected the schools will be receiving their first intake of students in the second semester of 2015, with full implementation by 2018.

The announcement of the graduate schools compliments Grow Wellington’s regional workforce strategy which puts a heavy focus on growing the IT sector in Wellington. The Wellington region has the highest concentration of web and digital-based companies per capita in New Zealand and Wellingtonians are twice as likely to work in IT Jobs as those in other regions. Grow Wellington estimates the number of businesses in Wellington’s ICT sector at just over 3300, up from  2300 in 2001.