Yesterday Steven Joyce launched another glossy report into the ICT industry. The ICT Sector report highlights strengths of the industry and challenges such as finding enough skilled workers but the report fails to recommend any steps the Government could take and in fact misleads how Government is supporting this sector.
I think Steven Joyce is desperate for examples how he is supporting the sector so when he pointed to ‘increased investment in science and engineering places at our tertiary institutions’ I’m not sure if he was aware this investment was for courses like Mining and Geology not courses like Software Engineering, Information Technology and Computer Science. Under the increased tertiary institution places students can study astronomy, mining engineering or wine science but not computer science, where the report notes we need extra workers. Talk about ‘e-gilding the lily’
ICT is a fast-growing sector of our economy and one that could help deliver greater prosperity for Kiwis but the report entirely ignores the GCSB legislation, lack of a second Internet cable and Government procurement policies which, when I talk to the ICT sector say are some of the big challenges holding them back. Likewise the report fails entirely to acknowledge the role played by open source software in the ICT sector.
Late last year Russel and I released a paper proposing a second Internet cable, greater Government procurement and developing ICT apprenticeships and along with actually increasing places for students to study computer science and related fields these would make a real difference to the sector. More so than yet another self-congratulatory glossy report without any recommendations that Steven Joyce seems so fond of.