Statistics New Zealand data shows that building consent are at a 10 year high, even when there is still a shortage of housing. The construction sector is struggling to produce the skills needed to meet demand.
Building consents are at their highest in more than 10 years, but with the industry coming off such a low base, capacity is still a key issue.
Building consent data released today by Statistics New Zealand shows that to the end of October 24,789 new homes gained building consents this calendar year and 30,158 over the past 12 months. This is the highest number since 2004, but is still well below the high of 1973 when just fewer than 40,000 new homes were consented.
Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) Chief Executive Warwick Quinn predicts the 2016 year to end around 30,000 consents up on 2015. He says Canterbury and Auckland make up 53% of all consents issued which is slightly down on previous years. Auckland is expected to consent around 10,000 new homes up about 8% on 2015.
Quinn says 30,000 consents is 6.33 builds per 1,000 people and is approaching New Zealand’s long run historical rate of 6.58 builds per 1,000 people. This is double the rate of 3.12 builds per 1,000 people in 2011 when construction was at its lowest level of activity since records began.
While the turnaround is welcomed Quinn says 30,000 consents per annum needs to be the new norm and coming off such a low base the construction sector is struggling to produce the skills needed to meet demand. Quinn says the BCITO has a record number of apprentices in training and recently passed the 10,000 number for the first time, but more are needed.
“While 10,000 apprentices is a new milestone for us it is also our new normal and must be increased if we are to successfully fill the skills gap in construction” Quinn says.
“Most of our growth comes from those firms that traditionally have apprentices so we want to increase the number of employers who train. In order to do that we need to have training programmes that align more closely with their business needs and how the industry in general is structured,” he says.
BCITO has been working closely with the Tertiary Education Commission and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority to explore how this might be done and a pilot will be launched in the New Year to test demand and options. Quinn says the competition to attract people into the trades is high so broadening the opportunities and being flexible in our approach to producing the skills the market needs will hopefully entice more into the industry. Quinn says there has never been a better time to get into construction with a strong forward work projection and great job security.
It’s now easier for young girls and women to pursue career opportunities in science, technology engineering and maths, Womens’ Minister Louise Upston says.
The ‘STEM Directory’ is a new online tool launched by the Ministry for Women and identifies initiatives, programmes and associations through which young girls and women can connect, discover and learn about science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM).
“A huge focus of this Government has been helping New Zealanders prepare and adapt to an economy that is an increasingly becoming more reliant on STEM-related skills,” Ms Upston says.
“Women are particularly under-represented in the highest growth areas such as digital technology and engineering, so I have made it a priority to find new ways of sparking their interest.”
In New Zealand, women make up about 23 percent of people employed in IT and about 13 percent of people employed as engineers.
“This tool is a small but significant way we can work to turn this around, ensuring women aren’t left behind in a constantly changing workforce and young girls can more easily find clear ways in STEM fields,” Ms Upston says.
“I want to encourage all young girls and women, schools, businesses - and men who want to encourage the important women in their life – to make use of this tool and become the next leader in these fields that are so crucial to New Zealand’s future.”
Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand education institutions stand to benefit following the signing of an education cooperation agreement in Iran today.
Mr McClay is leading New Zealand's first Trade Mission to Iran in more than a decade, and believes the visit has strengthened the New Zealand-Iran relationship following bilateral talks in Tehran.
“Under this arrangement, we aim to strengthen, promote, and develop education cooperation and collaboration between our two countries including academic exchanges and research programmes,” says Mr McClay.
New Zealand is increasingly chosen as a destination for students looking for a world-class education, with eighty per cent of Iranian students in New Zealand studying towards PhD qualification.
“I also welcomed the reclassification of New Zealand universities into the top tier of international rankings for Iranian students looking to study overseas, further cementing New Zealand’s position as a destination for students wanting a world-class education,” says Mr McClay.
“I expect this will lead to more PhD students choosing to study in New Zealand.”
Whilst in Tehran, Mr McClay addressed the Iranian Chamber of Commerce and held bi-lateral talks with the Iran Minister of Industry, Mining and Trade, Mohamad Reza Nematzadeh. He also met with the Governor of Iran's Central Bank to further discuss opportunities to develop stronger trade links between the two countries.
“This visit marked an opportunity to renew acquaintances, build new ties, and celebrate the growing trade relationship,” says Mr McClay.
The business delegation accompanying Mr McClay included: NIG Nutritionals, Tait Communications, Enatel Limited, Sealord, Silver Fern Farms, Westland Milk Products, Fonterra, FrameCAD, Flight Coffee, University of Canterbury, ANZCO, Auckland University of Technology, Pacific Helmets, Pelco NZ, and Pultron Composites.
November 25 saw the first coming together of Unitec’s new alumni group for its former engineering students and tutors. Pictured are Engineering alumni Dominic Hurley, Shannon Wallis & Stuart Hume
“Unitec’s engineering pathway supports the formation of this group so as to foster and maintain relationships with our alumni, many of whom have gone on to do great things within the New Zealand and global engineering industries,” said David Nummy, Unitec’s acting Head of Engineering.
“This alumni group will help Unitec strengthen and build the reputation of our programmes and our graduates. It will also help ensure our tertiary institute has good links back into industry for the benefit of current Unitec students.”
The main instigator of the new alumni group, Aidan Cooper, is a Unitec Bachelor of Engineering (environment) graduate. Mr Cooper is a board member of the Institution of Professional Engineers NZ (IPENZ) and has served on the Auckland IPENZ Branch committee since 2010. He is currently a senior engineer with Chester Consultants.
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has today released the 2016 Science and Innovation System Performance Report, the first of an annual series which presents data on the research outputs, impacts, funding, and overall performance of science and innovation in New Zealand.
“This report provides us with a performance benchmark against other OECD countries including the other small advanced economies – Israel, Switzerland, Singapore, Finland, Ireland and Denmark,” Mr Joyce says.
“The report increases transparency by showing how public funding for science and innovation is being invested, and it begins to give a direct line-of-sight to the benefits that funding brings for the New Zealand economy, environment and society.”
Key findings from the 2016 Science and Innovation System Performance Report include:
New Zealand’s research sector is relatively small for the size of the economy, but relatively efficient in terms of research outputs (i.e. scientific publications) produced per research dollar.
Total expenditure on R&D across the economy has grown significantly in real terms since 2000 (by 77 per cent).
New Zealand firms still report relatively low levels of R&D and innovation. Progress is slow but steady towards the specific NSSI goal of business R&D of over 1 per cent of GDP.On indicators of research quality we do better than the OECD average, but worse than other Small Advanced Economies and Australia.
The report identifies that we have niche expertise in Physics and Astronomy, Engineering, Energy and Computer Science, although these are areas where we do relatively little research.
New Zealand has strong international science links – international collaboration is seen in over 50 per cent of science papers published, and this is growing. Top collaborating partner countries are the US, Australia and the UK.
New Zealand produces relatively fewer graduates in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) than other Small Advanced Economies. However the numbers of graduates in these areas are going, and we successfully attract significantly more qualified scientists, and technology and engineering professionals to New Zealand than leave each year (net inward migration of these professionals was over 2000 in 2015).
The report includes examples of the impacts of different scientific developments in New Zealand, who was involved, how they were funded, and the results that occurred. Future reports will provide more comprehensive assessment of science impacts to give a robust picture of the overall benefits of science investment.
The National Statement of Science Investment (NSSI), published in 2015, set out the Government’s vision for 2025: “A highly dynamic science system that enriches New Zealand, making a more visible, measurable contribution to our productivity and wellbeing through excellent science”.
The NSSI committed to publishing regular system performance reports. This annual report will track progress against NSSI goals and become a valuable evidence base to inform government policy decisions and longer-term strategy. It includes information on R&D activity across the government, higher-education and private sectors.
“Achieving the NSSI vision will require reliable, timely information and robust evaluation of science and innovation system performance,” Mr Joyce says.
“This government invested $410.5 million new funding in science and innovation over four years through Budget 2016. We know that better performance data will enable us to target our growing science investments effectively and to maximise their long-term value to New Zealand.”
This report complements the first Research, Science and Innovation Domain Plan, released by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in September 2016. The domain plan provides a long-term picture of what is required to improve official statistics, data and information in this area, and a coordinated, cross-agency plan for addressing the issues.
The Science and Innovation System Performance Report is available here.
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce has today welcomed figures showing a growing proportion of domestic graduates are completing qualifications in STEM-related subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).
“More people are qualified to move into jobs where STEM skills are required,” Mr Joyce says. “The Tertiary Education Strategy 2015-2019 set a target to prioritise getting industries the skills they needed. This new report shows that the Government is delivering on that.”
In engineering and related technologies, the number of graduates reached 2,075 in 2015, an increase of more than 500 from 2008. In 2015, engineering graduates represented 5.0 per cent of all graduates at bachelors level or higher, an increase from 4.3 per cent in 2008.
“Further to that, the number of female graduates completing civil engineering qualifications increased 82 per cent from 2008 to 2015. Females now represent 19 per cent of civil engineering graduates. Women completing electrical and electronic engineering degrees also rose 71 per cent from 2008.
“Graduates completing Information technology qualifications increased to 1,610 in 2015, an increase of 515 from 2008. We expect that to increase further with the introduction of three new ICT Graduate Schools in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.”
Natural and physical sciences also increased as a proportion of graduates at bachelors level or higher, reaching 9.6 per cent in 2015, up from 9.0 per cent in 2008. The number of graduates completing a qualification in this field was 4,000 in 2015, an increase of 765 from 2008.
Today’s report is an extension of research released earlier this year as part of the What did they do? The field of study of domestic graduates 2011-2014. This extended research now includes figures through to 2015 and draws a comparison back to 2008.
Overall, the number of domestic students completing a qualification at a tertiary education provider was 121,700 in 2015, an increase from 107,285 in 2008.
What did they do? The field of study of domestic graduates 2008-2015 is available at https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/tertiary_education/education-outcomes/what-did-they-do-the-field-of-study-of-domestic-graduates-2008-2015
More analysis of people completing qualifications at tertiary education providers can be found at http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/statistics/tertiary-education/retenti...