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New Zealand tech-boosting initiatives

New Zealand’s Techweek 2020 kicks off today with over 280 online events. The week long programme is a national celebration of tech and innovation presented by NZTech.

The initiative gives New Zealanders access to the brightest tech minds in Aotearoa. The online programme has been designed to help the nation solve some of their post-COVID business challenges.

Digitally led for the first time, there are no geographical barriers to people wanting to attend the online events, which are mostly free in 2020.

Organisers say that COVID-19 has highlighted the prominence of tech across all industries and the initiative is a great opportunity for businesses to learn and collaborate in a post-lockdown world.

However, Techweek2020 is not just for the business community; it is about encouraging all Kiwis to engage with tech so they can unlock the new and exciting opportunities it provides.

New Zealand is keen to upskill and future proof its workforce and economy by investing in training and development.

It has always been keen to play a more prominent role in tech globally as well as to have tech play a more prominent role nationally.

The government had earlier announced a $1.6 billion trades and apprenticeships package, more tertiary enrolments and free vocational training courses.

Funding for courses in construction, agriculture, manufacturing, community health, counselling and care work will be available from July 1 as part of the country’s Covid-19 recovery plan.

While the coronavirus pandemic has caused tremendous slowdown across the nations, it has provided tech opportunities in some areas, including south Auckland.

Southern Initiative is Auckland Council’s social innovation think-and-do tank, tasked to identify the social and economic disadvantages and find career opportunities.

The initiative is not new and has been involved in future proofing youth. In 2018, the initiative focussed on building a “digital future” and opportunities for south Auckland youth.

Otago Polytechnic is planning a new multimillion-dollar trades training centre that create more workers for New Zealand’s workforce. The centre will specialise in building, construction and related trades.

It also aims to contribute millions into Dunedin and help the wider economy.

The centre will be built at Otago Polytechnic’s Forth St campus. The project is budgeted at $31.7 million of which $28 million will be via a grant and loan from the government.

Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones said the project would create 200 new jobs during its construction and would have a long-term impact for New Zealand.

This ready-to-implement project will provide a specialist and fit-for-purpose centre of training excellence for the building and construction trades.

These are areas that need well-trained workers for the nation’s pipeline of infrastructure developments.

The training will be free in an effort to encourage firms to take on and keep apprentices. It is designed to simplify the whole system and make it easier for learners and employers.

Otago Polytechnic’s existing building and construction trades programmes were delivered from leased buildings off site.

The polytechnic’s second semester vocational enrolments were up by more than 400 compared to the same time last year – an almost 7% increase in domestic full-time equivalent students than had been expected.

The new centre is to start construction later this year and is expected to be completed in mid-2022. The new facility would include ‘green build’ components.

The polytechnic had a role to play in the country’s economic recovery.

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