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Upskill Workforce To Sustain Growth

29th July 2004

Upskill workforce to sustain growth

At an economic briefing in Hamilton two weeks ago Finance Minister Michael Cullen said building a higher skilled and more productive workforce was one way of sustaining a strong growth rate over a long period.

Dr Cullen said the level of overall skills in the workforce needs to increase, as does the level of investment in New Zealand businesses. "The objectives go together. The availability of a skilled workforce means that businesses can invest in capital equipment knowing that it will be well utilised."

Graham Duncan, Managing Director, Computer Press Ltd (exclusive distributor of Microsoft Office Specialist in New Zealand), says he has been involved in a project for the past two years which will certainly provide long term solutions for Dr Cullen's concerns.

"Office Specialist' accredited testing centres have been set up in secondary schools and private training institutes all over New Zealand as part of Generation XP - one of four Government Digital Opportunities Projects developed to determine how the use of digital technologies could support student learning, specifically in the areas of science, technology and mathematics.

The Digital Opportunities projects are joint initiative between the Ministry of Education, ICT-related businesses and schools.

"MicrosoftR Office certification is the only globally and industry recognised approved certification and as such is valued by employers as an indication of competency in using the - Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Outlook and Project applications. Essentially Office Specialist accreditation is the only guarantee that people are 100% cognisant in the various Microsoft applications and therefore better equipped for career opportunities", says Duncan.

The MicrosoftR Office certification is backed by some powerful research statistics that endorse the very real benefits that students will reap later on in life.

In a recent study of 14,000 Office Specialists and 1,200 supervisors of Office Specialists from North America, the United Kingdom and Japan, it was confirmed that employees with MicrosoftR Office specialist certifications clearly contribute to a more knowledgeable and productive working environment.

The results indicate that they are more competent at using MicrosoftR Office programmes; work more efficiently and productively; achieve professional credibility with co-workers, customers, and employers; and obtain an advantage in hiring, promotion and advancement decisions. Utilising MicrosoftR Office Specialist qualifications, students in the Generation XP programme are able to hone and test their desktop application skills and sit exams which are not only recognised as a global standard, but ensure that students are equipped for the workplace.

When looking to the long term economy of New Zealand, this investment in a higher skilled workforce that will fully come on stream in five or 10 years time will certainly answer some of Dr Cullen's concerns.


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