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Joyce unconcerned by skills shortage

04 Nov 2009

ICT Minister Steven Joyce doesn’t consider a perceived ICT skills shortage will be a limiting factor in rolling out the Ultra Fast Broadband fibre network.

“Not concerned at this point, keeping a watching brief alongside NZICT,” he told Telecommunications Review. “We don’t see skills as being a limiting factor right now but it could become that way.”

NZICT today released a survey in which it was found 42% of companies thought that there is likely to be a skills shortage in the UFB rollout. “Skills shortage areas are predicted to be network architects, designers, engineers, and telecommunications technicians.” (More on the report can be found here.)

Competition for workers on the NZ UFB build is likely to come from across the Tasman. At the KANZ (Korea, Australia and NZ) conference hosted by NZ Trade and Enterprise, Australian Minister for Braodband Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy told the audience that it’s estimated 25,000 – 37,000 workers will be required to work on its fibre network.

After his speech TR asked Senator Conroy if he is concerned about a skills shortage in Australia.

“There is a shortage in the skills for fibre. Its copper based technology at the moment so we’re going to have to have a major retraining programme to upskill those copper techs into fibre techs,” he says. “We’re lucky in one sense that the global financial crisis has eased some of the pressures that were there just a few years in the Australian labour market.”