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Libraries to kick-start NZ’s knowledge economy?

09 Apr 15

Aussie-kiwi dollar parity may be great news for travellers heading across the ditch, but it also raises some big questions about the long term state of New Zealand's economy.

For decades New Zealand has been over-reliant on exporting primary goods. Many argue that if this doesn't change soon living standards could slide, especially compared to those of our more tech savvy and diversified OECD neighbours.

New Zealand’s economy needs to diversify. It also needs to include a stronger knowledge component.

It also goes without saying that a stronger tech sector will be vital in achieving this.

Things are already happening in this space. Public libraries throughout Wellington are kicking off free coding workshops for kids to teach them HTML and CSS so they can craft websites from scratch.

Creating code savvy kids will be vital going forwards if New Zealand’s economy is to prosper according to Xero CEO, Rod Drury;

"It's important to get young kids involved in fun programmes that stimulate their interest and promote technology careers. There is so much opportunity globally for a career in technology - the opportunities are countless and it's an exciting and fun industry to be a part of."

The importance of this for our future and the future of our emerging tech sector cannot be overstated.

Wellington is already home to significant numbers of tech startups such as Xero. Getting kids interested in tech will help ensure a pipeline of tech savvy future employees to maintain growth.

There’s a lot of room for growth given that New Zealand bizarrely has unemployment and a skills shortage in the tech sector.

Gather, Hutt City Libraries, Grow Wellington and Public Libraries of New Zealand are behind the initiative which will consist of 8 free to attend coding workshops aimed at teaching kids aged 12-18 the basics of HTML and CSS. 

Workshops start on April 11, running through to April 18th. To find out more, visit http://gathergather.co.nz/workshops/module/building-the-web/.

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