Tech funding will help untap diverse potential

Toi Mai Te Tumu o Toi, Chief Executive Dr Claire Robinson, and Poumatua Tama Kirikiri welcome the pre-budget announcement of a $20 million boost over four years for the digital technologies industry.

Toi Mai is one of six Ohu Ahumahi Workforce Development Councils established in October 2021 through the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) to ensure that the Aotearoa vocational education system meets industry needs.

The Budget boost will support the growth of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) community. From 2016 to 2021, jobs in this sector doubled from 7,000 to 14,000 and the sector aims to double this again by the end of 2025.

Digital companies offer virtually unlimited and largely weightless growth potential for a country like New Zealand – the only limiting factor is the supply of skilled labour, says Claire.

“Toi Mai is committed to creating pathways into the industry and bridging the historic skills mismatch in the tech sector,” she says.

“At Toi Mai we have already started working with the tech industry on ways to tackle industry needs and create pathways for all future ākonga/learners including Māori, Pacific, women, LGBTQ+, neuro-diverse and disabled. It’s essential to grow a diverse workforce for the future,” says Tama.

“We welcome this investment in SaaS, particularly as it will promote skills development for those already in the industry, and we look forward to further announcements in the 2022 Budget,” concludes Claire.

The Government’s Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan aims to help technology companies fulfil their potential as generators of high value jobs and export revenue. In 2020, the digital technologies sector contributed $7.4 billion to the economy, and the technology industry has grown around 77% faster than the general economy in the past seven years.