NZ skills programs under the microscope

Government acts to stave off international competition for homegrown talent.
Written by Rob O'Neill, Contributor

International competition for talent has spurred the New Zealand government to review its programs to recruit and retain science, IT and technology skills within the country.

The Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MoRST) is commissioning a research project as the first step of the review, saying that for small economies such as New Zealand it is crucial that human resources investment is coordinated for maximum impact.

"Although human capability in New Zealand is currently supported through a wide variety of government and non-government sources, there is a limited understanding of how each of these components relate to each other," the ministry said.

The review will inform the development of what the ministry calls an "advanced skills strategy" for New Zealand.

Recruiting and retaining skilled science and technology workforce has been an ongoing issue for New Zealand which can't offer the high wages and salaries available in many other countries.

The initial research will cover public, private and not-for profit organisations as well as tertiary students and post-doctoral fellows conducting science and technology research.

The first part of the project will involve mapping existing support programs in the context of the global science and technology workforce, "bearing in mind that a significant fraction of the New Zealand RS&T workforce is born overseas, and that New Zealand has a high percentage of its skilled workforce who are based overseas."

The second part will be an evaluation of the appropriateness and fit of the programs.

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