Gov’t to spend $28 million on three ICT graduate schools

The government is set to invest $28.6 million in the next four years in three information and communications technology (ICT) graduate schools based in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce announced on Thursday that the Christchurch school will be run by a new collaboration of tertiary institutions, and a school in Auckland will be hosted by two universities.

The schools, which will address the high-level skill shortages in the ICT growing industry, are expected to produce 350 skilled workers each year.

“Through this collaborative approach we will see ICT graduates with work-relevant, business-focused skills as well as more direct pathways from education into employment,” said Joyce.

The Auckland school will be hosted by University of Auckland and University of Waikato. Satellite locations will also be built in Hamilton and Tauranga.

The University of Canterbury, Christchurch Polytechnic and Institute of Technology (CPIT), Lincoln University, Otago Polytechnic and the University of Otago will make up the South Island Tertiary Alliance, which will host the southern school. It will reportedly have a campus in Christchurch’s Innovation Precinct and a satellite site in Dunedin.

Kay Giles, CPIT chief executive, said that the collaboration is “good for business, good for the institutions, and a real opportunity for individuals.”

The South Island school will focus on areas relevant to regional economies like agri-tech and health technology, while the Auckland school will focus on developing post-graduate ICT students with strong communication, critical thinking, and business skills.

“The global ICT industry is expected to grow by US$1.3 trillion between 2013 and 2020. For New Zealand businesses to make the most of this opportunity, they need hi-tech professionals working in their businesses,” said Joyce.

Information on the Wellington school will be announced later this year.