The Government has today revealed details around new graduate schools to be based in Auckland and Christchurch and specialising in information and communications technology.
Once a third school opens in Wellington, the institutes will train more than 350 students in the fast-growing field each year.
This morning, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce announced the school in our largest city would be hosted by Auckland University, with a collaboration with Waikato University providing satellite locations in Hamilton and Tauranga.
The South Island school - consisting of a campus in the Christchurch Innovation Precinct and a Dunedin satellite site - would be hosted by South Island Tertiary Alliance, comprised by the University of Canterbury, Christchurch Polytechnic and Institute of Technology, Lincoln University, Otago Polytechnic and the University of Otago.
The schools will accept not only computer science graduates but students who have studied in non-ICT subjects who show strong critical thinking, communications or business planning skills.
The southern school will particularly focus on key ICT areas relevant to the regional economies, including agri-tech, health technology, and communications products and services.
A key initiative of the Government's Business Growth Agenda, the new ICT graduate schools have been funded to the tune of $28.6 million over the next four years.
Mr Joyce said they would provide a "vital link" between fast-moving hi-tech industries and tertiary education to deliver more of the skilled graduates the country needed.
"They will provide a unique opportunity for businesses to connect with students and education providers, and help shape ICT talent and R and D."
The global ICT industry was expected to grow by US$1.3 trillion between 2013 and 2020.
"For New Zealand businesses to make the most of this opportunity, they need hi-tech professionals working in their businesses."
The dean of Auckland University's Faculty of Science, Professor John Hosking, said a significant feature of the new school would be the way it allowed students, who did not initially consider an ICT career, to complement their initial degree with an industry-focused postgraduate programme.
"If we are to keep pace with the rest of the world, it is more vital than ever that education in this sector is delivered in ways that will produce highly-skilled graduates with work-relevant skills."