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Signalling A New Horizon For Tech Education

As we look forward after lockdown, SIGNAL ICT GRAD SCHOOL is challenging New Zealanders to think about the technology skills and diverse workforce we will need to thrive in an uncertain future.

SIGNAL ICT Graduate School has launched its research report "Horizons 2020, Trends in Technology Education" and is challenging business, government and academia to work together to create the technology education system we need to thrive in an increasingly technological world.

“Horizons 2020”, examines the present and near future of technology education for New Zealand graduates and in career professionals, and looks at how we can evolve to better meet the future needs of students, organisations and the whole of New Zealand society.

"The experience of lockdown makes it impossible to ignore how dependent we are becoming on technology. To thrive in a future world, New Zealand needs to take control of our own destiny and build the skills we need to make, manage and use IT solutions in ways that benefit us all" says Dr Stuart Charters, SIGNAL Director.

Intended to be a durable legacy reflecting on the successes, challenges and foresight of the five institution collaboration that created SIGNAL in 2016, the report combines original research, insight from the global discussion and considered analysis to provide an accessible survey of where we are, where we are headed and some worrying clouds on the horizon.

Author of the report, Martyn Rivett, says that despite a clear need to grow our technology capabilities, the report highlights a growing gulf between the needs of employers, the desires of students and the current offerings of educational institutions - and growing tensions as all parties struggle to evolve while technology and the world change at dazzling speed.

"Quite simply, we are not educating enough people with the technology capabilities we will need in the future, and we need to be better at supporting those we do to build the complementary personal and interpersonal skillsets to deliver great technology outcomes in the real world" says Dr David Band, Chair, SIGNAL ICT Graduate School

The report, the feedback of stakeholders and the experiences and successes of the SIGNAL project itself all point to a clear need for new approaches to technology education and a more applied, human-centric ICT education, which reaches beyond "geek" to engage kiwis across the economy and at every stage of their careers and builds a technology skillbase that truly reflects kiwi society.

As SIGNAL comes to the end of its establishment period and looks to its own evolution, it's experience challenges academic institutions, industry and government to work closely together to evolve our systems for the future. Horizons 2020 is a tangible and thought provoking contribution to the national conversation on how to develop these vital national infrastructure capabilities to the benefit of all.

The report is published under creative commons terms and is freely available via https://signal.ac.nz/about-us/reports/

To promote discussion of these important topics, SIGNAL will launch the Horizons 2020 report with an online event on 18th June 2020, which will include a short presentation of the report, a panel discussion and the opportunity to put questions to the panel and the authors.

Post event a summary of the discussion will be released publicly and included in the print release of the report.

Further details and registration via https://signal.ac.nz/events/

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