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STEM skills vital to NZ’s future – Steven Joyce

Posted in Reflections On Science on February 1st, 2016.

Writing in the Dominion Post, Minister of Economic Development Steven Joyce lays out the case for a skilled workforce – especially in the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) sector.

NZInnovateAn excerpt (read in full here):

Getting people with more skills vital to our future

Beyond the current fog of misinformation around about trade deals like TPP, one thing is certain.

New Zealand’s economic future is about being more connected than ever to an increasingly globalised world.  And given our small size, our future involves increasingly becoming a highly-skilled niche player in high value industries like food for health, ICT, and hi-tech manufacturing.

How successful we are in these key industries will determine our level of prosperity; and that success will in turn be determined by how we develop the skills of our people to compete and succeed in our globalised world. 

We need to strengthen and maintain the curiosity for science and engineering in our school children to grow the numbers ready to study in STEM areas.  That’s what is behind the new “Nation of Curious Minds” programme which is all about seeding and maintaining the interests of our youngest minds in how things work.

We also need to continue to strengthen our skills training performance for young Maori and Pasifika, who form a large proportion of New Zealand’s future wealth generators.

While we have made good progress in increasing the number of Maori and Pasifika university graduates since 2008 again we are short in science and engineering.

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