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New Zealand to launch EdTech programmes

NZTech is launching Tech21, a programme of activity and events in collaboration with New Zealand’s Ministry of Education to help inspire young learners to venture into tech careers.

The organisation says that the recent research published in their digital skills report found a decreasing number of students taking courses that will prepare them for an opportunity to work in the many new and exciting tech careers within the growing tech sector. The Tech21 initiative will help expose some of the vast arrays of opportunities available for the next generation in tech roles across the country, he added.

Tech21 will begin with a summit featuring high profile New Zealand tech leaders. The students will hear from young successful role models so that hopefully they will see themselves as a tech entrepreneur or working in a cool tech job when they leave school. The Tech21 summit will also launch the opening of Techweek2021, a weeklong nationwide festival of innovation.

The Tech21 event will showcase tech innovation, creativity and the opportunities for technology career pathways leading into New Zealand’s fastest-growing and highest-paid sector. Tech21 will focus on the following areas:

  • Why is digital tech so important?
  • What will the tech future be like?
  • How to understand why a tech career is right for a young person?
  • What is a tech career like?
  • What career pathways are available?

Also, the recent digital skills survey found that New Zealand’s tech leaders backed the creation of a digital apprenticeship programme. Experts say that there is a real interest and passion within the tech sector to help students find pathways into the rising tech sector. This sort of scheme could open a door into a tech career for those that are less likely to do an IT degree.

The survey also found that there was strong support for internships to help students develop work experience and the skills that employers say are lacking in many graduates. Tech leaders say that there is a once in a generation opportunity here to find ways to encourage young people into a large variety of well paid, future proof jobs.

Accordingly, reports say that New Zealand’s education sector needs to face up to automation and the way it will affect people’s jobs in years to come – and it needs to move quickly to do so.

In a submission to the New Zealand Productivity Commission on the topic of how technology will impact the future of work in New Zealand, EdTechNZ says that New Zealand’s education sector needs a serious shakeup. According to them, New Zealand’s education and skills system does not have a shared view of current or desirable outcomes for New Zealand’s digitally dependent society. Consideration should be given to how the skill needs of the tech industry can be better understood by the education sector, perhaps through an industry body forum. Future workers will need advanced technical skills to operate in an increasingly digital working environment but also skills for the roles that cannot be easily automated.

EdTechNZ says it has witnessed the impact that automation technologies are having on people’s jobs. Workers now and in the future will need an education system that can keep up with the pace of global technological change. They add that the education sector is struggling to keep up with workplace change. The education sector is often held back by difficulty innovating and scaling new initiatives quickly enough.

Besides, due to the relatively large numbers of small to medium companies, employers are less likely to plan for or invest in future skills at the expense of the immediate needs and daily pressures of their businesses. The mismatches between capability and expectation will only grow. Government has a role to raise awareness and urgency of the issue and encourage the development of training for future skills that may not be readily apparent to the employer such as digital literacy. Government investment is required in every scenario.

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