26 November 2014 · Absolute IT

Absolute IT hosted our second IT Breakfast on the 18th November with Kevin Lavery, CEO of Wellington City Council (WCC). The first breakfast created a lot of conversation around the promotion of IT jobs in Wellington and ideas for building the tech sector in the future.

The Focus

At our second breakfast, the table discussed Wellington’s talent shortage and solutions to appeal to more tech students (international and national), holding onto and enticing more tech graduates, and creating and supporting businesses and business communities that get tech professionals excited about working in Wellington.

Attracting the Next Generation

The capital needs to become better at attracting tech students, nurturing them as part of the wider Wellington tech community and then holding onto them once they graduate.

Students who spend time working within the industry during their study, are opened up to the wider employment opportunities of our region and it makes them job ready and more employable to the market when they’ve completed their study

As mentioned at the first tech breakfast – Waterloo University in Canada is a great example of how businesses and tertiary providers can work closely together to create a high tech city. The University is a recognised leader in entrepreneurship and innovation, attracting tech talent to the region and filling a talent shortage.

Waterloo students are leaving their study with a job already secured via their co-op programme. Through their co-op programme students gain up to two years of relevant paid work experience, helping them both pay for their education and prepare themselves for their future careers.

With recent government cuts and the Global Financial Crises (GFC), there has been a sharp decrease in investment in graduate programmes and internships in Wellington. The industry needs to take charge and train the future stars. New Zealand where is We need to show them the opportunities of our High Tech Capital for their careers and future businesses.

International Opportunity

Wellington has the lowest number of international students when compared with the other major cities in New Zealand. It’s time to lift our marketing game.

The days of a ‘brain drain’ are long gone, with New Zealand migration soaring to record highs. There has been a significant increase in international students moving to New Zealand and simultaneously, fewer Kiwi’s are crossing the Tasman.


The country gained a net 47,684 migrants in the year ended October 31, the biggest ever gain, according to Statistics New Zealand. Annual arrivals rose 16 per cent from the previous year to a new high of 107,200, while departures fell 20 per cent to 59,500.

Business Incubators

Wellington has some great support networks to help kick-start tech business ideas like Lightening Lab and Creative HQ.  To develop our city as a High Tech Capital, we need to take these to the next level. Expand their reach to include student’s business ideas while they are still studying (like Waterloo)  and at the other end of the spectrum, helping convert mature start-ups to high level businesses employing 50+ staff.

Wellington has a multitude of medium scale tech businesses employing 20-40 staff members.  There is a great opportunity to encourage shared spaces like Bizdojo so SME’s can collaborate.

These environments not only help create business environments that help leaders take their businesses to the next step, they also create work environments that get the next generate excited about working in Wellington.

Those in attendance were:

Jeannie Bathgate, Ministry of Education
Mary Sue Critchlow, Critchlow & Assoc.
Colin MacDonald, DIA
Stuart Mclean, Xero
Owen Gibson, PWC
Craig Soutar, NZTA
Stephen Henry, MFAT
Terry Shubkin, Young Enterprise Trust
Kathy Wolfe, W2
Lou Gardiner, Lou Gardiner Associates
Ross Hughson, My Info Safe
Grant Burley, Absolute IT
Tina Ng, Absolute IT
Kevin Lavery, WCC
Philippa Bowron, WCC