Digital skills landscape report welcomed

The Government has welcomed the release of a report on the digital skills landscape in New Zealand and says it’s committed to training and upskilling more New Zealanders with the expertise they need for a 21st century economy.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Communications Minister Clare Curran say the government recognises digital literacy and the development of digital skills are crucially important to our modern lives and our economic future.

“We are committed to increasing the investment in digital learning in schools and also among the wider population through an emphasis on enabling lifelong learning,” Mr Hipkins says.

“We’ll do that through a range of measures including supporting the new digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum which starts in schools next year and through the fees-free initiative which will benefit tens of thousands of students next year and even more when it expands by 2024 to provide three years fees free.

“The Ministry of Education will also work with the Digital Skills forum to address the issues raised in the report.”

Ms Curran says much of what’s in the report aligns with the new Government’s priorities and is very useful in quantifying the size of the skills shortage.

“We need to know as much as we can about the size, scale and nature of the digital skills shortage in the digital technology sector, and across New Zealand. This report takes a long term look at digital skills needs and highlights the gap between limited supply and increased demand for digital skills,” Ms Curran says.

“The tech sector is New Zealand’s fastest growing industry and makes a significant contribution to our economy. We want to close the digital divides by 2020, and make ICT the second largest contributor to GDP by 2025.

We have to grow and support local talent and at the same time grab the best talent worldwide to fill any gaps. If we do, we will have the opportunity to make New Zealand a worldwide technology capital.”

“The report provides useful information for the new Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion Advisory Group I announced last week. The findings and recommendations from this research will be used to help government identify areas of future focus and potential investment,” Ms Curran says.

The report, ‘DIGITAL SKILLS – For a Digital Nation’, concludes New Zealand has a shortage of digitally skilled talent and that women, Māori and Pasifika are underrepresented in computer sciences or information technology courses.

“I’d like to thank the Digital Skills Forum for producing this report and I know government agencies on the forum look forward to continuing to work with industry to address the issues raised in it,” Mr Hipkins says.