We recognise that across a range of skills-based roles, we do not require applicants to hold a formal qualification.\nMore than 1000 businesses are expected to sign before the yearend an open letter declaring tertiary qualifications are not required for a range of roles within their workplaces.\nThe open letter, titled \u2018NZ Talent\u2019, was initially signed by 100 companies but the number has now reached 200, says Frances Valintine, founder of Tech Futures Lab, who co-led the initiative.\nThe open letter aims to \u2018change the conversation\u2019 around education in New Zealand.\nThe open letter is an initiative under the ASB\/KPMG Strategic Insights Panel (SIP), a group of 30 senior business leaders from New Zealand companies who have set a goal to help double GDP per capita growth from 1.5 per cent to 3 per cent by 2021.\nThe letter points out New Zealand has one of the highest levels of unfilled job vacancies in its history, particularly in fields of technology, science, design and innovation. \n\u201cAs companies, we recognise that we need to respond to this quickly changing job market...that across a range of skills-based roles, we do not require applicants to hold a formal qualification.\u201d\nFrances Valintine, Founder and Chair, The Mind Lab\nSolving the talent crisis requires bold new ways to match people, capability and jobs and I believe removing the fixed requirement for a formal qualification is a great first step.\nThe recognition of these \u2018NZTalent\u2019 positions is part of a global trend recognising the growing demand for contemporary skills that are often learnt outside formal education programmes, it states.\nThe focus during recruitment will be on assessing the skills, attitudes, motivation and adaptability of applicants, it points out.\n\u201cBusinesses across New Zealand are struggling to find talented employees that can bring enthusiasm, natural talent, passion and potential to their companies as qualifications do not always reflect the true capability of applicants,\u201d explains Valintine.\n\u201cWe just want to make sure everyone understands there are many ways to employment and that there isn't necessarily a single way.\u201d \n\u201cThat puts a lot of people off because they see the job ads are full of qualifications that are required and instantly dismiss themselves from applying,\u201d Valintine tells CIO New Zealand. \u201cWe just want to make sure that we have the full range of skills are recognised.\u201d\n\u201cSolving the talent crisis requires bold new ways to match people, capability and jobs and I believe removing the fixed requirement for a formal qualification is a great first step.\u201d\nASB executive general manager business Steve Jurkovich says he hopes letter will start a conversation around the different pathways to prepare young people for employment and what businesses can do to attract the right talent in the fast-changing job market.\nNZTech chief executive Graeme Muller, meanwhile, says while education is critical for developing specific skills, the value of experiences, developed on the job or through life, can be equally important.\n\u201cThe way technology is changing jobs means there are many ways to develop needed skills, and as soon as you remove the preconception that everyone needs a degree, you can tap into lots of new talent.\u201d\nNo caption\nAs soon as you remove the preconception that everyone needs a degree, you can tap into lots of new talentGraeme Muller, NZTech\nMuller says the introduction of digital technologies to the New Zealand education curricula from 2018 for all ages from year one to 13 is a great step toward helping prepare the future workforce for the future jobs that will be highly digital.\n\u201cAs technology becomes more pervasive we are already seeing the demand for tech skills accelerate across all sectors,\u201d he says. \u201cThis demand, plus the rapid growth of the tech sector means the number of job opportunities in tech continues to grow.\u201d\nThe first 100 signatories to the open letter are: ASB, Adherium, AIA, AMS, Animation Research, Artificial Intelligence Forum NZ, Autex, AWF Madison, Bidfood Limited, Bobux, Booktrack, Buckley Systems, Cardinal Logistics, Catalyst, Ceres Organics, Child Fund, CoHired, Colliers International, Countdown, Criffel Station, Delmaine, Direct Capital, Eat My Lunch, Ed. Collective, Edmund Hillary Fellowship, Enspiral Dev Academy, Epay, Euro Corporation, Exess Connectivity, Figure NZ, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Fonterra, Foodstuffs North Island, Fronde, Frontside, Giftstation, Go Bus, Harrison Grierson, HiFX, Hi-Tech Trust, Hunchbuzz, Iceberg, Icebreaker, Icehouse, iMoko, Intergen, Invenco Group Limited, IT Engine Limited, Jucy, Kiwirail, Kotahi, KPMG, Manaiakalani Trust, Metlifecare, Microsoft, Moa, Mondiale, Movio, My Food Bag, Naveya and Sloane, Next Foundation, Noel Leeming, NW Group, NZ Rise, NZ Tech, NZRS, OMG Tech, Optimal Business Intelligence, Optimisation, Osynlig, PledgeMe, Prestige Law, Pure Commerce, QualIT, Radius Care, Ria, Roam, Ruckus Media, Rush Digital, Safestack, Shine, Skycity, SMX, Solarcity, Soul Machines, Spark, Spidertracks, Summerset Group, Swaytech, Tech Futures Lab, The Exponential Agency, The Mind Lab, The Warehouse, Torpedo 7, Totara Learning, Tourism Holdings NZ, Trade Me, Trilogy International Limited, Unfiltered, Unitec, Vector, Vend, Venture Centre NZ, Vista Group, Waiora Pacific, Warehouse Stationary, WorldFront, Xero.\nRelated reading:\nIn a world where digital and technological literacy will become increasingly crucial to domestic and international economies, we can\u2019t afford not to make these opportunities available to allNZ strengthens campaign to recruit next-gen digital leaders in governmentProgramme helps ICT professionals re-enter the workforce after an extended break\n\nNo caption\nFollow Divina Paredes on Twitter:@divinap\nFollow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz\nSign up forCIO newsletters for regular updates on CIO news, views and events.\nJoin us on Facebook.