Helping Kiwis with the digital skills needed now, and in the future

Video: CS Unplugged in a New Zealand classroom

Teaching students computer science without a computer. Reaching offline Senior citizens learning how to connect during a national lockdown. Helping small business owners get their business online.

For many years we’ve been working to ensure Kiwis get the digital skills they need to succeed in our increasingly online world. This is a necessary task, as research shows that by 2025 as many as 149 million new digital technology jobs are expected to be created worldwide. 

Released today, our 2020 Community Engagement Report which has been compiled by Social Ventures Australia, highlights the ways in which communities across Aotearoa such as students and teachers, small businesses have built digital capabilities and confidence - with support from Google.

Innovative Digital Skills Programmes

We’re proud of the programmes we’ve been running and supporting, aimed at helping Kiwis acquire new skills to succeed in an increasingly digitised world. Many of our initiatives support marginalised or traditionally excluded groups such as Māori and Pasifika communities, women and older New Zealanders. 

Lifting educator’s capacity to teach Computer Science (CS) to build a future pipeline of talent is one of the key areas our skilling programmes are designed for. The Manaiakalani Education Trust’s Digital Fluency Intensive is designed to empower teachers in low decile schools to effectively and creatively teach CS. We’ve been supporting this programme since 2013, and studies show that after three years in a Manaiakalani school young people make up to two times the expected progress in a school year when compared with the national average. 

Resilient Home Grown Businesses

In order to support New Zealand’s economic recovery, we’re helping small businesses, the nonprofit sector and Aotearoa’s newsrooms to harness the benefits of technologies. Local business consultancy The Icehouse received funds via Youth Business International’s Covid-19 Rapid Response and Recovery initiative funded by, Google’s philanthropic arm, to provide guidance and emergency relief to Kiwi entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19 and they focussed on supporting small businesses run by women, young people and migrants which secured 280 jobs. 

Last year 76 local news organisations across New Zealand and the Pacific received emergency relief from the Google News Initiative, because we saw it as critical to support local reporting during a crisis. And 78% of nonprofit organisations rated Google’s products as critical or important to their organisation during 2020, playing a critical role in adapting or changing their outreach programmes, showing the impact of Google for Nonprofits.

Support to Address COVID-19

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we worked closely with the New Zealand Government, by mobilising resources across Search, Maps and YouTube, to drive unified action and support for the national COVID-19 response. The donation of NZ$8.5 million of Google Ads – to the New Zealand Government, not-for-profits and small businesses – helped authorities to elevate critical information and trustworthy resources and ensured Kiwis could easily find information they needed.

With the increasing speed at which Kiwis are accessing information, the role of digitisation should not decrease the quality, especially in times of need. We know that the spread of misinformation erodes public trust in news, and government for example, so we’ve continued to work in partnerships to help communities find the latest health information about COVID-19 when Kiwis need it most. 

We’ll continue to find unique and impactful ways to support New Zealanders in their digitisation, so that people around New Zealand – whether they are students, businesses, not-for-profits, educators, researchers or creators – are able to not just survive but thrive in the digital world. 

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