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The third of the Government’s three ICT Graduate Schools, formally launched at an event in Christchurch today, will develop the ICT skills of current industry professionals, teachers, and new students, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Paul Goldsmith says.

The South Island ICT Graduate Network and Laboratory (SIGNAL), is a consortium between the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic, and the Ara Institute of Canterbury, and has sites in Christchurch and Dunedin. The opening event included its Dunedin campus via video link.

“New Zealand’s ICT sector is now a significant contributor to the economy, with more than 11,000 firms employing nearly 30,000 people, and contributing $3.6 billion to our economy,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“For New Zealand students and firms to take advantage of this growth, we must ensure we can supply high-tech professionals with the right skills to work in the sector.”

ICT Graduate Schools are designed to provide innovative, industry focused ICT education, research and development through collaboration between tertiary providers, industry and stakeholders.

“In such a fast-moving industry, it is important our ICT tertiary education providers and businesses are well connected to ensure graduates have the right skills and aptitudes, and enable research and the exchange of knowledge to benefit both businesses and academia.”

In Budget 2014, Government invested $28.6 million over four years to establish three ICT graduate schools. The other ICT graduate schools have been established in Auckland (with delivery in Auckland and Hamilton) and Wellington.

“ICT graduate schools are a unique opportunity for businesses and ICT education providers to collaborate on education and research that will drive greater productivity and innovation, and contribute to New Zealand’s economic success,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“Through this approach, we will see ICT graduates with work-relevant, business-focused skills which will enable more direct pathways from education into employment.

“This kind of collaborative innovation is critical for the success of New Zealand’s ICT sector and the wider economy,” Mr Goldsmith says.

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