What next?

                                                                                             Grab a cup of coffee and consider the following:
What Next?
Urgency needed on skill shortages.
Budget 2017: Another missed opportunity to support our productive economy.
Low productivity hurting New Zealand.

It’s all about the present and the future and there’s enough issues in the above subject areas to shake a stick at. After all, a little bit of witchcraft might help!

I hope you are up to date with all of this but seeing you are probably one of the 97 percent of SMEs in New Zealand you will already be concerned one way or the other. Not enough skilled staff, not enough money to pay them, lack of support for manufacturers in the Budget and the level of the nation’s productivity in manufacturing is nothing to write home about.

The push for high yielding industries supported by Callaghan Innovation means that larger companies benefit while smaller ones don’t see it worth their time and energy to even apply.

So, What Next? We all know what is next. This program could have been shown by TVNZ any time, any day, any year because there is always a What’s Next?

We are continually being told about the future. About Industry 4.0, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, about where the jobs will be and how many people needed to do them.

It’s a consternation where the stars don’t align. If you have robotics, for example in an orchard pack house you don’t need as many staff. As in Toyota car plants in Asia where staff numbers have been heavily reduced. So where do the not required workers go?

It is time for government, key industry groups, education institutions and leaders to sit down and work out a plan -one plan – that sees them on the same page. Not for a group to maintain its independence so that spokespeople keep their privileged, autonomous leadership position to show their relevance but continue to not influence the decision-making process.

If we don’t have the skilled people then where will they come from? Tackle immigration not as Labour is – as a counter to National – but as servicing real needs. If engineers are in short supply, bring them in from overseas. Where there are shortages of doctors that’s what happens. Imagine a national airline needing pilots: they train locally and fill up the gaps from overseas.

On the other hand, if we have highly skilled people not able to find a job in their profession, having to do less than their qualifications allow what does that say about the state of planning between industry and education?

-editorial, June issue, NZ Manufacturer www.nzmanufacturer.co.nz

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