11 Jul 2014

Labour to create ICT apprenticeships

4:22 pm on 11 July 2014

The Labour Party says it will create 1200 new digital apprenticeships and support budding entrepreneurs in its Information Technology policy, if elected.

David Cunliffe.

David Cunliffe. Photo: RNZ

Leader David Cunliffe announced the party's IT policy on Friday, saying the sector would be at the heart of a Labour government's economic upgrade package.

He said to help develop the sector, Labour would review the points system for the migration skills shortage list and put $2.1 million in the first year towards new apprenticeships.

Labour would also back new entrepeneurs with "Garage Grants" to help them fund ICT projects. It would also provide tax incentives for ICT manufacturers and for research and development.

But Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce said on Friday that Labour's plan misses the mark.

Mr Joyce said apprentices are not what is needed in the IT industry. He says it wants software developers and designers who are at the graduate level, which is why the Government is putting together ICT graduate schools.

However, Labour's IT spokesperson Clare Curran said young people need tech-savvy jobs to go to after they leave school, and if a pathway into digital businesses is not provided for them, then New Zeaalnd is selling itself short.