Rethink Tech Talent Programme

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Rethink Tech Talent Programme (initiated)

Rethink Tech Talent is a programme in partnership with Canterbury Tech, that has been set up to support dyslexic learners, and empower existing employees to gain high-value employment in the tech industry.

It is astounding that one in five New Zealanders are deemed to be dyslexic, whether they are aware of it or not.

Creating a programme that supports this under-utilised pool of talent that is known to possess in-demand 21st-century skills.

We will more than address the tech sector’s skills shortages and increase our competitive edge.



A tech sector that relies less on scouring the globe for tech talent by retaining and attracting notably under-recognised skills already in New Zealand.



We ran the first research stage in Canterbury, but our intention is to apply it nation-wide.



I have a long association with the New Zealand Tech Sector and have acted as a panel judge across a number of categories. My exposure to the Tech Sector led me to be aware of critical skills shortages and responses to date.

Our long-term reliance on importing skills has encountered, post-COVID-19, a global skills shortage. This has obliged New Zealand to look again at where we might access skills. The sector itself has initiated programmes targeting cultural and gender diversity but has been slow to understand what alternative thinkers can offer. For alternative thinking, we feel strongly that the neurodiverse community has that in abundance and is seen as a highly desirable attribute internationally.

The Rethink Tech Talent pilot embarked on a journey to help hi-tech organisations understand, support, and attract more diverse thinkers, starting with dyslexia, the largest cohort. It is estimated that 1 in 5 New Zealanders have dyslexic traits. Our goal is to create a national framework or guide with support services aimed at alleviating stress on existing staff in client organisations.

During the first stage of the pilot, we ran a series of three co-design workshops in Christchurch. Best practice HR teams and dyslexic employees from our three partnering companies, Trimble, Phocas Software, and Inde Technology agreed to collaborate for the greater good. The information gained was both confronting and exciting for all involved.

We are excited about stage two of the project, which is bringing together all the amazing data and creating and testing a programme for wider distribution. We will report on the progress.

Supporters: MBIE & One New Zealand

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