Sir Neville Jordan (Chancellor of Victoria University) spoke on Monday 10th March at the Rotary Club of Wellington. He estimates that we require 500 technical and science graduates each year in order to achieve New Zealand's economic growth demands. For each 500 graduates this requires 35,000 students who are very interested in these subjects at the conclusion of their primary schooling.
It was noted that the foundation skills, and interest in science and technology, are created in the earlier stages of education and are more difficult, or less likely, to be acquired at tertiary level. Also far fewer girls show interest in these areas and there appears to be little knowledge about why this is the case.
We have a high number of highly skilled migrants entering New Zealand, many of whom have difficulty gaining employment in their professional field. (The Skilled Migrant Programme is evidence of this.)
I believe that it is these skilled migrants (and their children) who will play a major in the technical/science workforce of the future. By helping them settle into the Wellington workforce, and our communities, it is the local economy that will benefit.