New graduate schools to ease IT skills shortage

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 05:00 05/06/2014

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The Government will spend $28.6 million setting up three graduate schools to ease the skills shortage in the information technology industry.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce said that the schools in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch would cater for postgraduates and final-year undergraduates.

"The New Zealand ICT industry is making a name for itself on the world stage and is growing rapidly," he said.

"It is crucial New Zealand lifts significantly the number of people with high-level ICT skills and knowledge so they can help drive innovation in this sector and build a more productive and internationally competitive economy."

A tender will be held for education providers and industry partners to develop and run the schools.

He expected the first students would be able to enrol in the second semester of next year, with "full implementation" by 2018.

Victoria University computing professor John Hine said the funding was good news.

The devil would be in the detail and it was not clear the grad schools could provide a quick fix for IT companies that were crying out for skilled staff, given that students would need to go through courses before they could be admitted to a graduate school.

Demand for staff was such that some of the university's students had switched from four-year courses to three-year ones to take up job offers, he said.

Xero is offering to help pay for British recruits and their families to travel to New Zealand to fill some of the 160 vacancies it has for software developers in Wellington and Auckland.

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