‘Other Spatial Scientist’ added to New Zealand’s long term skills shortage list

In February 2013, Other Spatial Scientist was added to the immigration New Zealand long term skills shortage list (LTSSL). The addition is aimed at helping bridge the gap between demand for skilled workers in New Zealand’s growing spatial industry and the lack of capacity.

Research commissioned through Victoria University into the capability of the spatial industry in New Zealand has confirmed a skills shortage in this area.

The move also aligns New Zealand with Australia, which already includes ‘Other Spatial Scientist’ on its Skilled Occupation List.

The addition of ‘Other Spatial Scientist’ to the LTSSL is complemented by a number of education-related initiatives designed to help promote the New Zealand geospatial industry and develop skilled workers. 

These include: 

  • postgraduate diploma and Masters in GIS programmes, such as the MGIS programme offered collaboratively by Canterbury University, Victoria University, and the Auckland University of Technology
  • undergraduate and postgraduate GIS programmes at the University of Otago
  • geospatial virtual field trips for schools in conjunction with LEARNZ - a Ministry of Education supported project
  • spatial career profiles and study options on the Destination Spatial website supported by the Spatial Industry Business Association (SIBA) and the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI)
  • Eagle Technology’s GIS in School resources.

The addition to the LTSSL reflects a collaborative effort between government, academia and industry. The application to place ‘Other Spatial Scientist’ on LTSSL was supported by: LINZ; SIBA; the Association of Local Government Information Managers; the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI); GEOInt New Zealand; the University of Canterbury; the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT), and Landcare Research.  The addition was approved by immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.

Other Spatial Scientist’ is described under the Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) as someone who ‘acquires, integrates, analyses, interprets, presents, manages and distributes information about locations in space and time, and develops related equipment, software and services’.  The LTSSL qualification and experience requirements for ‘Other Spatial Scientist’ are ‘Bachelor degree specialising in Geography or Computer Science and a minimum of two years of relevant experience’.

Information for employers and prospective employees related to an occupation on the LTSSL is available from the Immigration New Zealand website.