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Tech.Track Report Confirms Need For Collaboration

Canterbury Development Corporation

TECHNOLOGY TRACK REPORT CONFIRMS MORE COLLABORATION NEEDED BETWEEN ICT INDUSTRY AND EDUCATION

Canterbury Software Incorporated and Electronics South, Canterbury's largest technology sector groups recently hosted Technology Track 2003 at Christchurch's Ultralab Research Facility. Some of the largest and fastest growing ICT firms in New Zealand were represented at the event, which was supported by the Canterbury Development Corporation.

Technology Track 2003 provided an opportunity for Canterbury's technology businesses to communicate their views about closer ties with industry and suggest how this can best be achieved for growth of the ICT sector. The educational sector also had the opportunity communicate suggestions for enhanced relationships with industry.

Eighty individuals from over thirty organisations were represented at Technology Track 2003 which was held on 16 September. These included:

a.. Software and electronics businesses (large and small),

b.. Educational institutions and Industry Training Organisations,

c.. Research centres and service providers such as recruitment consultants, government departments and business services support.

This event included presentations covering:

- The industry perspective

- The educational perspective

- The way forward

Key findings from Technology Track include:

a.. There is a perception that it is difficult to find appropriate contacts within the educational institution's 'ivory towers'.

b.. Educational institutions need to equip students with sales, marketing and other skills in an addition to technology based skills.

c.. Companies such as Dynamic Controls have managed to get customized training developed for them through building relationships with institutions, more companies in the ICT sector can benefit from this.

d.. There is a gaping hole between education output and skills employers need.

e.. Research students are not cheap labour, neither are they consultants; they want an opportunity to learn while contributing their skills to improve business performance.

f.. Lip service is currently paid to relationship building - a need for dedicated liaison persons to drive the process of relationship building

g.. Funding for educational institutions should be tagged to how well they meet industry needs, a survey could be conducted to achieve this.

h.. Small and medium technology firms as well as the larger ICT businesses need to be involved in decision making that determines funding for courses in educational institutions

i.. Work ethic is a problem for young New Zealanders; they should be educated about expectations in the workplace. A recent ICT Taskforce report also supports the development of closer ties between technology firms and the education sector.

The opening address described Technology Track as a journey not an event. Technology Track 2004 will review progress on the journey to bring business, education and research and map the way forward. A PDF report on Technology Track 2003 can be downloaded from www.electronicssouth.org.nz and http://www.canterburysoftware.org.nz/resourcesindustryinfo.htm

ENDS


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