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NZTech says immigration and education must equal a healthy tech sector

10 Apr 2017

NZTech says New Zealand is putting its focus overseas to attract tech talent, but it shouldn't be our only initiative.

The recent Wellington LookSee campaign received 48,000 applicants from other countries. It was a joint programme involving NZTech, Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, Workhere and Immigration New Zealand.

NZTech chief Graeme Muller says he’s excited to see international demand for tech roles, however New Zealand also needs to improve its education system to build local talent.

“There are firms right across New Zealand that are still struggling to find enough people with digital skills, in tech firms and in organisations across most sectors. Once Wellington has finalised the LookSee campaign the plan is to ensure as many other roles are filled throughout New Zealand from the highest quality applicants,” he says.

He says that the rapid growth in the tech sector means that the demand for skills continues to rise - and there are still many unfilled roles.

However, rolling out tech skills to the rest of the country is a step by step process, he says.

“The introduction of digital technologies to the New Zealand curricula from 2018 for all ages from year one to 13 is a great step toward helping prepare the future workforce for the future jobs that will be highly digital,” he explains.

“With these changes in the education system, we expect to see the supply of local tech talent slowly increase over the coming years to better meet the growing demand,” he says.

He cites the Digital Skills Forum, which is about to investigate the real shortages, identify the most urgent skills and forecast their demand. The results will help shape immigration and education systems to match demand.

“Other activities to help develop interest in tech roles includes NZTech’s Shadow Tech day which in June will take young girls from schools and match them with a woman in tech for a day to get a feel for working in the tech sector,” he says.

Technology is New Zealand's third largest export sector and employs more than 100,000 people.

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