New Zealand’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister, Steven Joyce recently announced that a greater proportion of domestic degree-level students are enrolling in qualifications in STEM-related subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).
A recent report entitled ‘What are they doing? The field of study of domestic students/learners’, which analyses the fields of study of domestic students in the New Zealand tertiary education system over the past eight years, shows there are more people enrolling and studying in qualifications for in-demand occupations that help strengthen and diversify New Zealand’s economy.
In 2015, students enrolled in engineering and related technologies at Bachelors level or higher reached an all-time high of over 11,500, an increase of more than 3,500 or 44% from 2008. In 2015, engineering students represented 6.5% of all students studying at that level, up from 4.9% in 2008.
The number of students enrolled in IT at Bachelors level or higher in 2015 increased by 33% since 2008 to reach 11,360. This represented 6.4% of students studying at that level in 2015, up from 5.3% in 2008.
Below degree level, there was an increase in the number of enrolments in the field of architecture and building. Between 2011 and 2015, the number of domestic students enrolled in Level 3 to 7 certificates/diplomas increased by 25% to reach over 25,500. At Level 1 and 2, there was an increase of 59% in enrolments in mixed field programs, between 2011 and 2015.
“At the vocational level, the numbers reflect the emphasis we are placing on growing construction and infrastructure to meet the needs of New Zealand’s record building boom,” commented Joyce. “At foundation Levels 1 and 2, the subject trends are responding to our deliberate focus on building literacy/numeracy and foundation skills.“We need these trends to continue so we better match New Zealanders’ skill mix with the emerging needs of our industries.”