Victoria MacLennan. 01 August 2022, 11:21 pm
Kia ora koutou ITP Members and supporters. It’s August already, hasn’t this year flown by!
As you will have realised by now I spend about half of my time on digital skills – closing the digital divide, growing the capability of our industry, future proofing the education system, and other supporting programmes.
With my DECA – Digital Equity Coalition Aotearoa – hat on last week I wrote to Minister Clark to express our disappointment at the absence of budget approval for the Digital Inclusion pou (post or pillar) of the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa.
While Covid shone a big brightly shining spotlight on the digital divide the reality is our government has only applied a few band aids so far, neglecting to understand the significance of leaving 20-25% of our population behind and – if you take this situation to fruition – the flow on effect for our economy.
The frustrating things is it’s not just us facing these challenges. The UK report “There were more than two million UK job vacancies in tech last year” and “nearly 12 million workers lack essential digital skills”; Australia “predicts a 260,000 shortage of technology workers by 2025” and like here in Aotearoa NZ, “1 in 4 people in Australia are still digitally excluded” (love the Good Things Foundation).
We are all facing the same challenges, and now with boarders open are competing for the same skilled workforce. It will take years to build the workforce our economy needs, instilling digital capability in the future workforce and breaking down the barriers to entry for those who are currently digitally excluded. We need to get serious.
In the letter to Minister Clark we call for funding to support the basics and list community led initiatives who need interim funding support while government policy and implementation work (identified in the Digital Strategy) are completed:
- Affordable internet access for New Zealanders on low incomes.
- Getting devices to people who can’t afford them.
- Digital skills support through community organisations.
- Wrap-around support to get and stay connected.
It’s not just DECA calling on the government to make these changes. The Citizens Advice Bureau petition on this topic was debated in parliament just last week. There is a small army of under resourced community advocates out there trying to solve this without the might of our government behind them. There are also big corporates and global vendors scratching at the edges if this challenge.
Unfortunately while Australia and the UK Governments are investing in this space, we still seem to be putting digital skills in the too hard basket.
Data and Statistics Bill
The new Data and Statistics Bill comes into force on 1 September 2022. To be honest I completely missed the consultation period (back in 2018 by the looks) so have only just come up to speed after reading a very concerning request for the bill to be withdrawn last week – and I am concerned after reading this.
According to the Statistics NZ website, The Data and Statistics Bill intends to:
- recognise the Crown’s responsibility to consider and provide for Māori interests in data and statistics
- enable more effective data system leadership
- strengthen and future-proof the framework for collecting data for official statistics
- modernise the framework for accessing data for research
- continue to provide appropriate safeguards and protections to ensure public trust and confidence in the collection and use of data for official statistics and research.
These goals read well, and the Statistics Act was long overdue a good overhaul but with any legislation the devil (as they say) is in the detail.
The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties is opposed to the bill and wants it withdrawn requesting thorough public consultation and noting in their view, the bill “enables state surveillance through wide data gathering and sharing powers, delegation, with poor oversight and governance.”
Further they go on to say “The Bill dangerously conflates collection and use of data for the purpose of collecting official statistics with collecting and sharing data for unspecified research.” And that the Australian Data Availability Act 2022 should be drawn on to develop appropriate legislation via an open consultation process.
What do you think?
Advances in Agile software development
Diane Strode is the author of Chapter 10 From Yesterday to Tomorrow on Agile – one of my personally favourite advancements in our industry ever! This chapter provides a great overview of the basics – the Agile Manifesto, how Agile projects work in practice, a glossary of terms, and descriptions of common practices. Something to share with anyone new to Agile or engaging with it from a non-dev perspective.
This rich chapter goes on to provide insights into agile in the news, agile roles, agile research in NZ, general adoption commentary and agile variations. Diane tells us that “Agile software development is now an accepted approach in New Zealand and worldwide, and has been adopted and adapted in a multitude of different project contexts.”
And concludes with “Agile has now moved into marketing teams, sales teams, construction teams, strategic management, and has evolved to encompass Agile organisational transformations. The next decade will show us if this simple set of ideas will continue to influence teams, software products and service provision, and change whole organisations for the better.”
ITP Member Neil Cowley has sadly passed away
We were contacted during the week by a member of Neil’s team to advise he had passed away quite suddenly. Neil was the Head of Information Technology for Summerset Group, an ITP member and well respected member of our wider community. Our thoughts are with his whānau (family). You can read his tribute here.
Finally, Apple purchased my loyalty for life back when I was a teenager with their preferential education pricing campaign, and even knowing this I continue to invest in their ecosystem and love the simplicity of how well my devices all coordinate with each other. One of the best features is sharing your wifi connection between devices ie: connect on your phone and by magic you can share the connection details, without even thinking about it, with your MacBook. Well it looks like they have topped that with IOS16 adding the ability to view that wifi connection password too! this way you can read the password out for your non-apple colleagues or your own non-apple device. I’m excited about this tiny new feature. Guessing other people are more excited by removing duplicate photos or pairing with your Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons (I will do these too of course).
Sometimes it’s worth celebrating the simple things though. Kia pai tō rā (have a great day), Vic
I took this photo last week at the beautiful Rāpaki Marae in Banks Peninsula. Such a privilege to spend time in this special place.