The New Zealand Digital Skills Forum is a focused coalition of industry associations and government organisations that work together to identify key skills issues and opportunities across the ICT, high-tech, and digital sectors. The Forum uses their insights, resources, and influence to help address the ever-present digital skills shortage. By taking a practical, information and evidence-based approach, the Forum focuses on harnessing collaborative efforts to address significant issues.
Ultimately, the Forum’s aim is to improve the flow of skills and talent into the tech sector. By working to decrease fragmentation and to focus the resources and efforts of both industry and government the Forum will improve the flow of skills and talent for the fast-growing New Zealand technology sector.
The Digital Nation report highlighted that the New Zealand tech sector is the fastest growing sector and it accounted for $16.2 billion in GDP in 2015, making up 9% of the economy and employing almost 100,000 people. Additionally, there were almost 21,000 ICT workers employed in other sectors as the demand for ICT and digital skills increases.
How the Forum works
A small core group comprising key industry organisations and government agencies sits at the centre of the Forum – these are the Founding Partners. The Founding Partners set the direction and work programme for the Forum. Working Groups have been established to focus on the critical elements of the digital skills ecosystem including the pathways into the sector via the education system, via the immigration system and via industry skills development. These three working groups are underpinned by a fourth working group that is focused on the development of evidence and data to assist with fact-based decision making.
Due to the importance of cyber-security skills, there is also a cyber skills focused working group that is identifying and stimulating projects to develop cyber-skills. Additionally, cyber-skills projects are interwoven through the other working groups.
The Founding Partners oversee the working groups and meet regularly to assess progress. The working groups are co-convened by a leading representative of the industry and a relevant agency.