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Silver lining to skills shortage?

News of skills shortages, particularly a need for 200,000 workers within the service sectors, continues to make headlines.

Six of New Zealand’s regions now have solid data for decision making, as well as some concrete actions to help solve the problem.

Between now and 2020, between 26 percent and 41 percent more people will be needed in these regions, according to new Regional Roadmaps and Action Plans released by ServiceIQ for Northland, Bay of Plenty, Queenstown-Lakes, Christchurch City, Auckland’s tourism sector and Otago.

In total, more than 72,000 jobs will need to be filled by 2020 in these six regions alone, the organisation claims.

Dean Minchington, ServiceIQ chief executive, said that although the looming skills shortage is a national problem, it needs local action.

“The situation is serious for service sector businesses, but there’s a silver lining too. With this growth there are opportunities for local people to get local jobs and to gain new skills as they learn on-job. It means that young people will be able to get their first job and get started on a rewarding career. It means that those a bit older wishing to return to work, change careers, or make a life change will have that opportunity.”

He aims to work with businesses, industry associations and local and central government to ensure that the Roadmap action plans deliver.

“It’s important to ensure that these aren’t talk fests that bring a lot of back slapping and nothing else. There’s a real opportunity here for change. There’s the chance for communities and local businesses to invest in themselves and their people. With the right actions, the regions can build stronger and sustainable businesses, and grow the skills and careers of their employees who are, after all, members of the community too.”

The release of this first set of regional roadmaps is timely given the growth in tourism and discussions about its impact on New Zealand and how regions can share the economic benefits.


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