The whole "who runs the country" scenario aside, the story of the week for me, without question, is the open letter signed by the 100 companies telling future employees that kids at school that university or polytech isn't necessarily required for skilled jobs in their industries.

This is a game changer, and comes not a moment too soon.

I am biased of course. I didn't go to university. I left school at 16: got UE and got the hell out of there.

Why? Because 35 years ago, we were, in a way, where we are again today. Plenty of jobs for those who want them, desire them and who can make a real contribution to them without sitting in a lecture theatre for three or more years.


This is not to say university isn't useful, because it is. But the area I can speak most confidently on is media. And I can tell you for nothing that in certain areas of media, entry to the game has changed dramatically. But the talent pool, the quality, the output, hasn't.

When I started, UE got me in the door. NCEA wouldn't even get you close these days. And that, in many respects, has been a mistake.

There are certain jobs, and I am assuming the letter writers like Microsoft and Xero have them, that require most importantly of all: attitude, natural talent, determination, creativity and an inquiring mind. These are things you don't get in a classroom.

For most of my school life, certificates were the answer to success. Courses, exams and certificates. The emphasis was not on who you were and what you brought to the equation.

Hopefully, that is changing at last. They recognised it in medicine years back, when the marks required were so high they were pumping out geniuses, but none of them knew how to act like a human with a sick person. That's an exaggeration but you get my point.

In areas like media, creativity is key. I've seen it hundreds of times over: graduates fresh out of the schools and courses and techs, full of theory, not the slightest idea how it works in the real world.

The point of the letter, I guess, is for industry to tap into as much talent as they can. Talent that might go elsewhere, or never consider their options if there is a wall of officialdom between them and a job.

My bet is this works for them. My bet is there are thousands of poeple who get to be good at what they want to do, without a bit of paper, because good people are good people. And that's the most important thing of all.