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Canty project secures $1.7m to close ICT skill gap

Wednesday 21 July 2004

Canterbury project secures $1.7m to close ICT skill gaps

Major new funding to close skill gaps in the Canterbury information and communication technologies (ICT) industries was announced today by Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton and Information Technology Minister Paul Swain.

The $1.765 million ICT in Canterbury project is a partnership between local businesses and tertiary education organisations, facilitated by the Electro-Technology Industry Training Organisation (ETITO). It will fund industry-based research to identify current and future skill demands and then develop a talent pipeline to meet these needs.

The project involves the Canterbury Electronics Group, Electronics South, Canterbury Software Incorporated, the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand, Canterbury Innovation Incubator, Canterbury Development Corporation, the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and Christchurch College of Education.

Jim Anderton and Paul Swain met with the cluster of organisations running the programme at Christchurch firm Tait Electronics’ headquarters this morning. Jim Anderton said the groundbreaking project would deliver major benefits to the ICT sector and the Canterbury economy.

“The ICT sector is growing faster in Canterbury than anywhere else in the country, but skill shortages are a major barrier to the sector’s potential growth. This project will help ensure we met the challenges of building tomorrow’s ICT workforce by aligning courses, qualifications and training with the industry’s skill needs.

“It’s part of efforts across several government agencies to increase economic growth by enhancing the profile and attractiveness of Canterbury as a high technology centre and to provide wider employment opportunities for experienced workers,” Jim Anderton said.

Information Technology Minister Paul Swain said the project is funded from the government Growth and Innovation Fund which was set up after industry taskforces said new investment and attention was needed to develop qualifications relevant to the needs of businesses in targeted sectors including ICT.

“The ICT in Canterbury project is a very good example of what can be achieved when tertiary education organisations and industry collaborate to identify skills needs and work to meet them.

“This project demonstrates that the government is prepared to put its money where its mouth is. This is exactly the kind of innovative project envisaged by the five-year Tertiary Education Strategy, 2002-2007. If we are to sustain solid levels of economic growth we need to solve skill shortages and boost the country’s productivity. Without a highly skilled workforce those goals will not be achieved,” Paul Swain said.

An outline of the ‘ICT in Canterbury’ Growth Pilot Project:

This ETITO-facilitated consortium is comprised of: the Electro-Technology Industry Training Organisation (ETITO), the Canterbury Electronics Group, Electronics South, Canterbury Software Incorporated, the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand, Canterbury Innovation Incubator, Canterbury Development Corporation, the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, the, Christchurch College of Education.

The consortium will conduct industry-based research to identify current and future skill demands. This research will be used by the partners and the Tertiary Education Commission to develop a talent pipeline that will ensure an adequate supply of suitably qualified graduates.

The project’s strength is in its genuine industry leadership and widespread collaboration with tertiary education organisations. It aims to develop a comprehensive “end-to-end” solution for the ICT sector. The project potentially offers a collaborative model that other sectors and regions could follow.

For more information please visit www.tec.govt.nz.

ENDS

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