Kiwis missing out on well-paid work
New Zealanders are missing out on well-paid jobs building the $3.5 billion ultrafast broadband network, Communications Minister Amy Adams says.
She said people were having to be brought in from all around the world to build the network.
"It is not everyone's cup tea, but if you like working outdoors and after six months' training you can be on a salary of $70,000 to $80,000 splicing and laying fibre."
Adams said not enough New Zealanders were coming forward to do the work, even though "we have got all sorts of training programmes with polytechnics".
Chorus spokesman Robin Kelly said its contractors had 225 crews building the UFB network, each comprised of between two and four people.
"We don't have visibility on the make-up of their teams, but they do use a mixture of local and international specialists," he said.
Their incomes could depend on "a lot of variables".
Adams said she had a more general concern that people might not be aware of the breadth of opportunities in the technology sector, which she said employed 40,000 workers and generated $5b of exports annually.
"I do have concerns we haven't quite sorted out the skills pipeline. Too often I find teachers and career advisers are just not talking about IT because they don't really 'get it' themselves."
Adams congratulated the Institute of Information Technology Professionals (IITP) for raising $300,000 from 40 companies for a programme that will see volunteers visit schools to talk about opportunities in the industry.
IITP chief executive Paul Mathews said the IT Connect initiative was up and running at schools in Dunedin and would begin in Wellington next month. It was the largest non-governmental ICT industry initiative in the country, he said.
Adams hinted at government initiatives in the pipeline that would oblige telecommunications companies to better describe their products and services and another to improve cyber-security.
"We have got to make sure everyone gets clear messaging about what the products, pricing, packages and options are and what they mean.
"We know threats we see internationally and domestically are increasingly cyber-based."
Adams also told the capital's ICT mandarins she believed more could be done to make it easier for New Zealand firms to compete for government technology contracts, for example by allowing "more creative contracting arrangements" for small-scale projects that would let local firms build a track record within the public sector.
Information added following reader requests:
Downer, Transfield Services and Visionstream manage the field technicians that work on Chorus' behalf to install or repair network and telecommunications services in customers' homes and business throughout New Zealand.
Career information is available on their websites at:
- Visionstream operate in Auckland and Northland
- Transfield Services manage the central North Island and the upper South Island
- Downer manage the Wellington-Horowhenua area and the East Coast, lower North Island and lower South Island
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- © Fairfax NZ News
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