Rees Ward, former diplomat, government official and lawyer is appointed director of the Wellington ICT Graduate School.
The school, which will be formally launched this week is a partnership between Victoria University, Whitireia and the Wellington Institute of Technology.
It is one of three in a Government-funded initiative to deliver high quality education and research to meet the needs of the growing ICT industry in New Zealand.
Ward, with qualifications in law and business, has worked as a solicitor in the United Kingdom, in high-profile government advisory roles in New Zealand – including at the Ministry of Economic Development, and in Parliament as Private Secretary for Rugby World Cup 2011 – and more recently was engaged with the high-tech sector in California at the New Zealand Consulate based in Los Angeles.
Ward says the Wellington region’s ICT industry has been identified as critical to the weightless economy, with notable concentrations in creative and digital, film and gaming firms, state sector ICT employment, and ICT consulting firms.
The School will set the standard for advanced ICT education in the region, ensuring an industry-driven and experiential education, so our diverse and business-savvy graduates are ready to become the future ICT leaders in this sector
“The ICT industry is fast-paced and rapidly growing, demanding innovative approaches to education and training. The Wellington ICT Graduate School will set the standard for advanced ICT education in the region, ensuring an industry-driven and experiential education, so our diverse and business-savvy graduates are ready to become the future ICT leaders in this sector,” says Ward.
“One of my primary roles as director is to bridge the gap between industry and education in the region - to make industry more relevant to education and vice versa.”
The Wellington ICT Graduate School is offering five Masters courses this year, and will add courses in 2017. The school will work with with industry partners through a raft of programmes like scholarships, mentoring, internships, guest lectures and project work.
“Ultimately, the Wellington ICT Graduate School is an opportunity for the ICT industry to provide direct feedback to educators about their requirements for their future workforce. Staff and students will directly engage with ICT firms, start-ups, and our tech ecosystem to upgrade the talent that can assist the growth of the New Zealand ICT industry,” says Ward.
The Wellington ICT Grad School has a joint industry and academic board and is located in central Wellington, with offices in the Collider Tech Hub. The school is funded by the Tertiary Education Commission, with additional support from the Wellington City Council and other Councils throughout the region.
“We are thrilled to have someone of Rees’ calibre and passion in this critical partnership-building role,” says Professor Mike Wilson, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Science, Engineering, Architecture and Design at Victoria University. “With his legal mind, diplomatic skills and in-depth knowledge of the academic, business and public sectors he brings the perfect blend of skills.”
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Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.