The Wellington Regional Strategy (WRS) Committee has teamed up with Victoria University and Grow Wellington to introduce a new initiative that will see students gain onsite industry experience as part of their studies by interviewing the region's top business minds.
The 'strategic issues in employment and work' survey has been included in the university's major in Human Resource Management and will see about 65 students speaking with more than 100 businesses in Wellington's knowledge intensive economy over the next eight weeks.
The findings will provide insights into economic and employment trends, strengths and weaknesses of the Wellington economy, challenges being faced by the business community, and current and future skill needs. The information will then be used by the WRS Committee to report on issues facing the region's business community.
"This is a fantastic initiative because it allows us as a region to understand the needs and challenges of businesses in our region and then seek solutions that hold some of our companies from reaching their full potential," WRS Committee Chair Sir John Anderson says.
"At the same time students at Victoria University are being exposed to some of the top business minds in the region, which not only gives them a real insight into the business world, but can also open up all sorts of doors including internships and employment opportunities."
Victoria University's School of Management Senior Lecturer Dr Richard Norman says the business interviewing initiative had been introduced into the curriculum for students majoring in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations to apply their learning to a vital regional issue.
For a country like New Zealand, whose exports are still dominated by land-based commodities, the role of cities in economic growth is not yet well understood. The research aims to provide practical, specific insights into the way in which cities such as Wellington have become major contributors of economic development.
It is envisaged that this project will also provide them with a greater understanding of what companies expect of the students after graduation.
Grow Wellington's General Manager of Innovation and Workforce Adrian Gregory says the survey aims to get beyond broad statistics and provide better understanding of the factors that encourage creative businesses to develop, locate and grow in this region.
"The findings will support Grow Wellington's review of sectors' skills needs and give us the basis for some really focused projects that will help meet those needs," Adrian Gregory says.
The WRS Committee is expected to be able to report on the first phase of data in November 2013.