It's almost hit the six figure milestone and total employment in the tech sector is positively booming. Over the last few years it's been steadily increasing, enabling growth in output and exports and stimulating the economy.
In a NZTech study released today, figures show there are 44,161 people working in high-tech manufacturing and 54,750 in ICT. Unfortunately, the sector is constantly challenged by skills shortages.
NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says the New Zealand education system is not evolving fast enough to generate local talent to support its growth.
“NZTech recommends ongoing efforts to lift the responsiveness of the education system to the needs of tech sector employers. It is also critical for all children to develop skills to prepare them for the jobs of the future,"says Muller.
"We urge faster implementation of computational thinking and computer programming into the curricula, and teaching throughout New Zealand schools from year one," he adds.
Even though there are interesting new efforts to train workers for the tech economy such as High Tech Youth in Auckland and Dev Academy in Wellington, Muller stresses it's still not quite enough.
“There is a need to teach teachers how to bring technology into the classroom, not as a specialist subject, but as a method of teaching all subjects. The MindLab by Unitec is a fast-growing example of what is possible," says Muller. “We recommend that increased investment is immediately made in teachers' skill development to enable the effective delivery of teaching using technology."
Ultimately, Muller wants to see ongoing attention to determining what tech-enabled pedagogical changes are working best in New Zealand schools so that successes can be passed more rapidly through the system.