ICT graduate school will be a shot in the arm, says Raewyn Bleakley

Press Release – Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce
The government’s announcement of a graduate school for information and communications technology in Wellington is fantastic news, says Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Raewyn Bleakley.

“This is a further shot in the arm for the city’s strong ICT sector.

“The smart city just got even smarter.

“This school is an opportunity to address significant high-level skills shortages in our rapidly growing ICT industry by being able to feed directly into it.

“Wellington has the highest concentration of web-based and digital technology companies per capita in New Zealand, and we have 22% of all jobs in the computer system design sector, so we are perfectly placed to take full advantage of the skills the school will produce.

“It’s a real tailor-made opportunity for Wellington, with funding for education, research and collaborative initiatives to attract top students and academics and help them connect with our high-value high-tech firms.

“Recent figures for our hi-tech sector show it is growing three times faster than any other region, and that the number of ICT export businesses is growing so fast that Wellingtonians are more than three times as likely to work in ICT as people in other cities.

“This school will support and accelerate that growth.

“I’m confident we have forward-thinking education providers and industry partners here to play a big part in the tender process to develop and operate the school.”

News from NZ Govt
The Government will invest $28.6 million operating funding (including $11.8 million of contingencies) over the next four years in three Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Graduate Schools to help address significant high-level skills shortages in the rapidly growing ICT industry, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says.

The new ICT Graduate Schools, a Budget 2014 initiative and part of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda, will be based close to ICT firms in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The Christchurch programme will be located within the Christchurch Innovation Precinct.

The new schools will be provided with funding for education, research and collaborative initiatives to attract top students and academics and connect them closely with high-value high-tech firms. This will accelerate the growth of New Zealand’s ICT talent.

“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,” Mr Joyce says.

Tertiary institutions have significantly boosted the number of higher level ICT places over the last few years.

“The total number of domestic ICT equivalent full-time places at advanced levels has increased by 19 per cent since 2010. However, the demand from employers for skilled graduates is strong and continuing to grow.

“The Government will continue to increase its investment in quality ICT education and these new graduate schools will take the training of work-ready ICT graduates to another level,” Mr Joyce says.

“The New Zealand ICT industry is making a name for itself on the world stage and is growing rapidly.

“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.”

A tender process will be used to seek innovative proposals from education providers and their industry partners to develop and operate the ICT Graduate Schools.

“We want to see the business sector involved in the design and delivery of the new programmes at the graduate schools to ensure they remain current and relevant in what is a dynamic and rapidly evolving industry,” Mr Joyce says.

It is expected the first students will enter the schools in the second semester of 2015, with full implementation expected by 2018.

The tender for the graduate schools will be managed by the Tertiary Education Commission with support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

News release from Whitireia
Whitireia Chief Executive Don Campbell has welcomed the Government’s announcement of three new centres to focus on producing information technology graduates for employers and industry.

“The objective of these centres seems to fit perfectly with our role as a polytechnic. We are well placed to support the Government’s initiative with an established reputation for producing work-ready graduates who are equipped with the skills needed to make immediate impact in the workplace.”

“Our current range of Information Technology programmes includes preparatory certificates and diplomas, a degree in Information Technology (IT) as well as postgraduate qualifications and a Master’s degree” Don Campbell noted.

Although little detail is known as yet about how this initiative would be delivered, it appears to be in response to calls from employers for more IT graduates who have had some experience in the workplace and can immediately contribute from the applied skills they have acquired.

“Collaborative approaches between institutions offer distinct advantages, allowing for a wide range of programmes that can respond to differing IT needs across the economy,” Mr Campbell said.

“The Choice Protocol, our strategic partnership with Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec), is well established and collectively offers an impressive suite of IT programmes. Added to this is the highly effective Computer Power Plus, jointly owned by Whitireia and WelTec, which is working very well in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland, meeting industry needs for skilled graduates” said Mr Campbell.

Dean of Business and Information Technology at Whitireia, Gerry McCullough said, “IT programmes at Whitireia are delivered via a hands-on approach to learning, giving students a focused, applied pathway to employment in Information Technology. “

“As part of their study, students engage with industry, giving them real-world experience in real businesses. Our highly regarded qualifications from certificate level to Master’s degree focus on what businesses need; work-ready and experienced graduates with relevant IT skills to help businesses and the economy grow” he said.

 

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