No surprise a million Kiwi workers need more digital skills

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It’s not that surprising to see New Zealand needs to upskill a million Kiwi workers with better digital skills, as covid has accelerated the drive to digital for most businesses in New Zealand and around the world, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched a new research report which says the urgent need for Kiwi digital skills training became more acute during the pandemic.

NZTech’s digital skills for a digital future report released in 2020 highlighted the decreasing number of students learning digital skills in our education system and the growing need to have digital skills in many jobs.

It also pointed to the lack of focus on upskilling workers and the rapidly growing tech sector, all factors contributing to this massive needs for more focus on digital skills in New Zealand, Muller says.

“The AWS research shows while 97 percent of Kiwi businesses see a need to upskill staff with digital skills, only 25 percent are actually doing it.

“Like our research back in 2020, this report highlights similar issues such as limited awareness of what is available to help Kiwis gain digital skills and a lack of time.

“The New Zealand Qualifications Authority introduced micro-credentials to encourage shorter courses to support upskilling but a big issue continues to be a lack of awareness by Kiwi business and workers about what skills they might need.

“The government’s digital boost initiative, focused on encouraging small business owners to take up more digital solutions to make their businesses more productive, is an example of what might also be needed in the general digital skills area.

“Aotearoa’s digital industry transformation plan, currently out for consultation by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, has a large section dedicated to the critical need for improving New Zealand’s digital skills in order to ensure the digital sector continues to grow at pace creating thousands of new high paying jobs for Kiwis.

“There is no silver bullet to this global digital skills shortage, but if New Zealand can accelerate our local response we stand to gain considerable benefits including creating many higher value jobs, improved employee satisfaction and output, high productivity and high value exports.

“We need to pull every available lever to achieve this, marketing to encourage more people to want digital skills, creating new pathways and opportunities for training, leverage the (often free) training available from large multi-national tech firms to help our workforce upskill, and make it easier to attract and bring in the best possible digitally skilled talent from around the world.”

Related: New Zealand Government creates a roadmap for New Zealand tech sector

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