If New Zealand raises its education outcomes over a period of 20 years to a level comparable with Finland, it can generate a 204 percent increase in GDP worth an additional $US258 billion, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says. Technology is driving changes in the way Kiwis work and the skills required for work, he says. He was commenting today on the open letter 100 leading New Zealand companies and organisations have just published, saying that not all students wanting to work in tech have to go to university. Muller says while education is critical for developing specific skills, the value of experiences, developed on the job or through life, can be equally important. “This initiative by the 100 big companies and organisations is really about raising awareness for the public that technology is opening up all sorts of opportunities for our kids and just because they don't have a degree doesn't mean there aren't huge opportunities out there. “Tech firms have had to face skills shortages for a number of years and have found many critical skills can be successfully learnt on the job, university degrees are obviously still important for the development of certain skills. “But with the way technology is changing jobs means there are many ways to develop needed skills, and as soon as you remove the preconception that everyone needs a degree you can tap into lots of new talent.” Muller says the global Network Readiness Index, an important measure of digital readiness, has New Zealand ranked 17th in the world, but well behind digital leaders such as Singapore, the United States, the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries. “Measuring a range of economic, social and technology factors, the index is serving as a good proxy for what is important for a digital nation and I hope New Zealand is moving in the right direction on the list. Tech is crucial to New Zealand’s future.” The tech sector is now New Zealand’s third largest exporter and is growing fast. The tech sector contributes over $16 billion to GDP and employs 100,000 people. But it’s not just about the tech sector as new digital technologies are driving economic and social change. Muller says the introduction of digital technologies to the New Zealand education curricula from 2018 for all ages from year one to 13 is a great step toward helping prepare the future workforce for the future jobs that will be highly digital. “As technology becomes more pervasive we are already seeing the demand for tech skills accelerate across all sectors. This demand, plus the rapid growth of the tech sector means the number of job opportunities in tech continues to grow. For further information contact NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller on 021 02520767 or Make Lemonade media specialist Kip Brook on 0275 030188
| A Makelemonade realease || September 27, 2017 |||
RocketLab are looking for summer interns to join their New Zealand team from November 2017 - February 2018!
Exciting opportunities are available in the following teams:
Analysis - Guidance & Navigation - Production & Manufacturing - Avionics - Software - Propulsion and the Launch Range.
If you are a third or fourth year engineering student who is innovative, intelligent and completely enthusiastic about aerospace, then this is your chance to spend the summer learning from the best and contributing towards making space accessible to all.
View Positions Here . . . Please note the positions shown are published on the RocketLab webside and may not necessarily be intership related
In an article published on Newsroom this morningCatriona MacLennan challenges the Government's mantra that work lifts families out of poverty, arguing that the spread of labour hire work at the expense of permanent employment exacerbates the problem
Hard-won employment protections achieved over more than a century are being eroded by the emergence of labour hire companies in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere.
These companies operate as intermediaries between workers and the organisations for which work is carried out. Examples are cleaning, airline catering and airport baggage safety officers.
Instead of being employed by the business for which they are working, workers are contracted to that company through labour hire and temping firms. The aim is to cut costs for businesses. Firms do not have to provide full-time or a regular number of work hours. Nor do they need to pay holiday pay, sick pay or superannuation contributions. Workers might be required to pay for their own equipment and safety boots, as well as ACC levies. And there is no obligation to promote staff and pay higher wages as employees become more senior.
However, for the workers, this means low wages, no job security and insecure hours of work – and hence income – from week to week.
Labour hire firms receive “sign on” bonuses of several thousand dollars from the business. The labour hire firm also charges the business an hourly rate for each worker which is significantly higher than the rates paid to workers – perhaps $3 above the minimum wage.
As a result, in New Zealand, people now work alongside each other doing exactly the same tasks, but under vastly different conditions. Employees have regular hours and ongoing work, while the labour hire workers have no security and are generally paid several dollars an hour less than their colleagues.
Many labour hire workers are migrants, who have little bargaining power and often are not aware of New Zealand employment law.
A legal challenge to labour hire work began in the Employment Court at Auckland on 14 August 2017.
The case is brought by E Tū union in the names of two workers. The defendant is LSG Sky Chefs New Zealand Ltd, which is owned by German airline Lufthansa and runs airline catering kitchens in Queenstown, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.
Two labour hire firms, Solutions Personnel Ltd and Blue Collar Ltd, are named as third parties in the case.
Approximately 200 temporary workers are contracted to LSG Sky Chefs through the third parties. Many are paid only the minimum wage and do not have security of employment.
The workers are seeking a declaration under section 6(5) of the Employment Relations Act 2000 that they are in fact employees of LSG Sky Chefs. They claim that, although they signed a contract with Solutions Personnel which was expressed to be a contract for services, they were in fact employed by LSG Sky Chefs.
The hearing is expected to finish on August 18.
Many parents work two or three jobs to try and support their families but the minimum wage of $15.75 an hour is simply not enough to live on. The spread of labour hire work at the expense of permanent employment is exacerbating this precarious existence for some families.
There are also attempts in other countries to deal with the erosion of pay and other workers’ rights linked to the use of labour hire companies.
These have been prompted by alarm at the spread of labour hire. In 2012, there were estimated to be 36 million temporary workers worldwide, with 11.5 million of them employed daily as agency workers. The United States had 11.5 million agency workers, while Europe had 8.2 million and Brazil 7.1 million.
The European Union in 2008 issued Directive 2008/104/EC on temporary agency work. This was designed to provide protection to agency workers: it states that the basic work and employment conditions of agency workers should be at least those of employees.
However, the way in which courts in different European Union nations have interpreted the directive has largely undermined its effectiveness. Instead of focusing on its purpose, courts have concentrated on the word “temporary” and held that the directive applies only to short-term work.
One example of this is a court case in the United Kingdom in 2013, which aimed to provide rights to agency cleaners who had worked for a firm for between six and 25 years without ever obtaining the security of permanent employment.
The court held that regulations made under the European Union directive applied only to workers placed for a fixed period with a firm. If they were there indefinitely, they did not come within the ambit of the law.
One lawyer described the decision as driving a “coach and horses” through the protection intended to be given to agency workers.
In Canada’s Ontario, there was a 33 percent increase in temporary workers in the decade to 2014. That growth was double the rise in the number of permanent employees in that time and the wages of the temporary workers were significantly lower. In 2015, the median wage of a temporary worker in Toronto was C$15 an hour, while permanent employees were paid $22.40.
Ontario passed the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act 2014, aiming to provide legal protection to agency workers. Earlier this year, Bradford City Council voted to end its use of temporary staffing agencies, with councillors blaming the businesses for trapping workers in a cycle of poverty and insecurity.
In South Africa, labour hire is known as “labour broking” and has caused concern for many years.
A law which took effect in 2015 aimed to curb temporary employment services and give additional protections to vulnerable workers. It has been challenged by labour brokers.
New Zealand has seen a fall in real wages in recent decades and increasing insecurity of employment for workers.
Despite a growing economy, real average private sector wages in this country dropped by 0.5 percent in the 12 months to June 2017.
The Government’s mantra is that work lifts families out of poverty.
Sadly, that is no longer the case in New Zealand. Many parents work two or three jobs to try and support their families but the minimum wage of $15.75 an hour is simply not enough to live on.
The spread of labour hire work at the expense of permanent employment is exacerbating this precarious existence for some families.
The test case brought by E Tū will demonstrate how much protection current laws can provide to agency workers, or whether law reform is needed.
* Catriona MacLennan is a barrister and journalist and carried out research for the plaintiffs in this case.
Prime Minister, Rt Hon Bill English, will officially open the Kahukura Engineering and Architectural Studies facility at Ara Institute of Canterbury City Campus Christchurch on 10 August.
The new $34m, 6500m building on Moorhouse Avenue is the jewel in the crown of a 10 year master plan of rebuilding and refurbishment across the institute’s five campuses.
Kahukura was designed by Jasmax to offer students both purpose-built workshops and studios, and flexible learning spaces, that mirror industry workplace conditions.
Engineering, architectural studies, quantity surveying and interior design programmes will be taught in the Kahukura building and students have started semester two in the spacious new building, which doubles as a teaching tool.
“For students who will be designing and engineering the buildings of the future, Kahukura is an inspiring place to develop skills and awareness,” Acting Chief Executive Darren Mitchell says. “The structural elements of the building are exposed so that students can see how the elements work together on both practical and aesthetic levels. It is also a forward thinking building in terms of the materials used and the sustainable components.”
Timber dominates throughout as a structural element with other highlights the wide feature staircase, original artwork by Niki Hastings-McFall, a building facade inspired by Maori cloaks (known as kahukura) and a public exhibition space.
Powell Fenwick were the engineers and Inovo provided project management on the building.
Former Prime Minister John Key opened the Whareora, Sports and Wellbeing facility, also at the City Campus Christchurch in early 2015.
Ara has also refurbished the Woolston Campus and added new buildings and resources for trades training, is nearing completion of a North Green at the Christchurch campus, is evaluating requirements for the three southern campuses and will begin work on a Student Hub in Christchurch soon.
The company is investing in training and growing local talent to combat a skills shortage in the engineering industry through closer relationships with the regional tertiary provider, Ara Institute of Canterbury.
Wyma Solutions Production Manager Michael Anderson says that the company often struggled to find the people it needed, so instead turned to young talent and more investment in training.
“We’re growing quickly and we need more highly-skilled people to compete internationally. It’s difficult to find people with the right skillset in the market so we’re investing in apprentice training through Ara to grow our team and our production,” he says.
The post-harvest equipment manufacturers currently have nine apprentices training through Ara and aim to double that number over the next two years to meet their specialised staffing needs.Engineers working in the manufacturing industry need to be multi-skilled and creative thinkers, Anderson says.“We don’t just plonk our staff at one point in an assembly line to do the same thing day in, day out. Every machine we make is customised and we need staff that can problem-solve and complete a variety of tasks.“We choose to train through Ara because their tutors are experienced and have broad knowledge. They are recognised in New Zealand as a leading tertiary educational institute who provide world-class training and have top-notch facilities and equipment.”
Apprentices attend block courses and night classes at Ara. They also have a ‘buddy’ at Wyma Solutions to teach them the basics and help them progress through their training.“Ara provides them with the skills to become competent tradespeople and we assist them in growing.”
Wyma Solutions also enhances their apprentices’ training further through exchanges with other companies to expose their young talent to the many different aspects of engineering.“Engineering is broad and that’s what makes it exciting. We want our apprentices to go out and experience other things, then come back to us with added skills and fresh eyes,” Anderson says.
Many of Wyma Solutions’ former apprentices now have key roles in the company and their career development doesn’t stop there. The company is currently looking at Ara courses to upskill team leaders and front-line management. They also often take on young pre-trade graduates from Ara, with the aim of progressing them into further training.
Ultimately Anderson says that Wyma Solutions wants to get as many staff as possible through formal training in order to enhance its already highly-skilled workforce and compete with large manufacturers overseas.“By choosing to train staff through Ara, we are investing in the future of Wyma and boosting our ability to compete on the global stage.”
Taranaki DailyNews reports that Taranaki's Amtec Engineering at Bell Block closed and made all of its staff redundant last week.
The downturn in the oil and gas industry has forced a Taranaki engineering company to shut up shop and lay off all of its staff.
On Friday employees at Amtec Engineering, Connett Rd East Bell Block, were called into a meeting and told they were all being made redundant.
The company's 44 staff were given a letter stating while the business' directors had hoped things would improve, it was closing the doors on the basis it was insolvent and was unable to continue trading.
We are pleased to hear that the Government is planning to review incoming immigration changes with a specific focus on how they will affect the regions. Effectively addressing skills shortages in manufacturing and other sectors needs to remain a core part of our immigration system – notwithstanding changes that may be required to address other issues associated with current high levels of net migration, say the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA).
NZMEA Chief Executive, Dieter Adam said, “In particularly, the 12-month stand-down after three years did not make any sense to businesses – having to send quality workers back home not long after they completed the inevitable on-the-job training required to become fully productive and integral to their business operation. The skills they may take with them often simply cannot currently be filled by New Zealanders.”
“Unlike in other sectors, labour shortages in manufacturing are almost completely in the skilled workers category, especially for those with trade skills and experience.
“The Government’s approach to use pay levels as a surrogate for skill level was seen as a sensible approach by some of our members, where it was seen as potentially a smoother pathway to fill high income skill shortages, but others argued it is crude and has a number of issues. It ignores the fact, for example, of regional variation in pay for jobs at the same skill level, and it may unintentionally lead to wage inflation by artificially setting a base line across the country for what machine operators, for example, should be paid.
“The NZMEA is not simply advocating for a continuation of current immigration policies and practises, which have led to immigration outcomes that may well be unsustainable in some areas. The Government needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with changes that address these issues without cutting off the much needed supply of migrants to fill skill shortages, especially in the regions outside of Auckland.” Said Dieter.
Palmerston North City is the quintessential university town. It is the second youngest city in New Zealand per capita with an average age of 33, due to its large student population of nearly 20,000 tertiary students, Grant Smith, the Mayor of Palmerston North City, tells GovInsider.
The city has plans to attract young people not just to study, but to live in the city. “We’ll grow by another 20-30,000 people in the next twenty years,” says Smith. For a city with a population of 90,000, that is a substantial 30% increase.
But Smith notes that the council “[needs] to be mindful that just being a good city to live in will not retain young talent or attract investment”. In the coming years, Palmerston North will embrace technology, improve sustainability and create jobs to attract millennials to the city.
With a great number of young people, Smith says, “you get take-up of technology [that is] greater than you would in an older demographic, or even in a metropolitan city”. “We have a great uptake of ultra-fast broadband here, one of the highest in New Zealand,” he notes.
The city council is going paperless in a number of ways, according to Smith. Firstly, similar to Tauranga City Council, building consent documentation will be done digitally from this week, on a cloud-based system. “The system enables building consent to be tracked from when they’re launched through to when they’re completed. That’s quite a big thing for us internally,” Smith explains. He adds that the council itself is going paperless too: “We conduct all our meetings electronically.”
The city also has a big focus on agricultural technology. Building on a “good agricultural reputation”—70% of the world’s sheep meat comes from within two hours of Palmerston North—the council is now in negotiations with Microsoft to establish an agritech centre in the city, he shares.
“They have honed in on New Zealand because of our good agricultural reputation and footprint. I’ve looked at different regions and we’ve probably got the most diverse agricultural sector here,” says Smith, adding that besides sheep meat, the city produces dairy, beef, produce, venison and deer.
The council plans to accommodate more people through “intensification”, rather than building suburbs outwards, in a phenomenon called ‘urban sprawl’. “In terms of the district plan which enables the growth to develop, we prefer to look at buildings and more CBD [Central Business District] living rather than just continuing to grow suburb after suburb,” Smith says.
And for this growth to be sustainable, creating and retaining jobs are big on the agenda for the council. To that end, Smith believes the city is “very well-positioned” to host big data centres. “It is something we’ve been talking to some of the major players about,” he says.
“They generally don’t go into big cities, because the power is too expensive. They need lots of water to cool their facility,” Smith adds. “If you look overseas in places such as Europe, they are traditionally based in a rural but well-connected area.” To illustrate, Palmerston North is strategically located on the central lower part of the North Island of New Zealand, allowing it to be the “logistics distribution hub that we’ve become known for”, he says. “Our geological location really helps us.”
Technology also enables the council to achieve its sustainability goals, which are a big priority for them. “We’ve embraced electric vehicles, we have a number of them in our fleet now,” Smith says. Building inspectors and general officers now use electric vehicles, and so does the council’s eco advisor, who helps the public and businesses make better use of energy within their homes and buildings.“We will be looking to going electric rather than petrol in the coming years,” he adds.
There is also a focus on clean energy and lowering carbon emissions; the council produces 30% of its own energy. “We like to see ourselves as a eco-city, and we are future-focused,” Grant shares.
And in the next ten years, there will be a “major wastewater plant upgrade”, which will move away from the traditional method of simply discharging wastewater into a waterway. “We’re looking at all sorts of different options,” Grant explains.
As Palmerston North gears up to welcome 30,000 new citizens into its fold, millennials studying there may one day want to live there, too.
|I nterview with Mayor Grant Smith, Palmerston North City Council by Nurfilzah Rohaidi, GovInsider || June 28, 2017 |||
More than 100,000 employment agreements have been completed using an online tool refreshed by Business.govt.nz just over one year ago, says Small Business Minister Jacqui Dean.
“As a Government we are committed to helping New Zealand’s small businesses thrive, and the Employment Agreement Builder is just one way we’re helping small businesses get ahead,” Ms Dean says.
“Using the Employment Agreement Builder you can create employment agreements tailored to meet the needs of your business, with clauses clearly labelled mandatory, recommended, or voluntary.
“Accessible online, mobile-friendly, and with the ability to save users progress, this tool adds up to more time for business owners to work on their business, and less time on compliance.
“Since the tool was refreshed 127,671 people have visited the site to create employment agreements and learn about their rights and responsibilities, with the tool receiving a 95 per cent positive feedback rating.
“An employment agreement is the foundation of a good employment relationship, clearly setting out expectations for both employers and employees, and helping to avoid disputes.
“With the Employment Agreement Builder and other Business.govt.nz tools such as the Workplace Policy Builder we are making it easier for businesses to create positive and productive workplaces,” Ms Dean says.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced a package of changes designed to better manage immigration and improve the long-term labour market contribution of temporary and permanent migration.
“The Government is committed to ensuring inward migration best supports the economy and the labour market,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“It’s important that our immigration settings are attracting the right people, with the right skills, to help fill genuine skill shortages and contribute to our growing economy.
“That is why we are making a number of changes to our permanent and temporary immigration settings aimed at managing the number and improving the quality of migrants coming to New Zealand.”
Changes to permanent immigration settings include introducing two remuneration thresholds for applicants applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC), which will complement the current qualifications and occupation framework.
“One remuneration threshold will be set at the New Zealand median income of $48,859 a year for jobs that are currently considered skilled. The other threshold will be set at 1.5 times the New Zealand median income of $73,299 a year for jobs that are not currently considered skilled but are well paid,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“The SMC points table, under which individuals claim points towards their residence application, will also be realigned to put more emphasis on characteristics associated with better outcomes for migrants.
“Collectively these changes will improve the skill composition of the SMC and ensure we are attracting migrants who bring the most economic benefits to New Zealand.”
The Government is also proposing a number of changes to temporary migration settings to manage the number and settlement expectations of new migrants coming to New Zealand on Essential Skills work visas.
The changes include:
The introduction of remuneration bands to determine the skill level of an Essential Skills visa holder, which would align with the remuneration thresholds being introduced for Skilled Migrant Category applicants
The introduction of a maximum duration of three years for lower-skilled and lower-paid Essential Skills visa holders, after which a minimum stand down period will apply before they are eligible for another lower-skilled temporary work visa.
Aligning the ability of Essential Skills visa holders to bring their children and partners to New Zealand with the new skill levels.
Exploring which occupations have a seasonal nature and ensuring that the length of the visa aligns with peak labour demand.
“I want to make it clear that where there are genuine labour or skills shortages, employers will be able to continue to use migrant labour to fill those jobs,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“However, the Government has a Kiwis first approach to immigration and these changes are designed to strike the right balance between reinforcing the temporary nature of Essential Skills work visas and encouraging employers to take on more Kiwis and invest in the training to upskill them.
“We have always said that we constantly review our immigration policies to ensure they are fit for purpose and today’s announcement is another example of this Government’s responsible, pragmatic approach to managing immigration.”
Public consultation on the changes to temporary migration settings closes on 21 May, with implementation planned for later this year.