It is no secret that many countries are facing an increasing talent deficit in light of the economic crisis and the current shortage of skills necessary to fill new jobs in the private sector. New Zealand is no exception. Brad Smith, Microsoft Executive Vice President and General Counsel, states “The economy faces a paradox: Too many Americans can’t find jobs, yet too many companies can’t fill open positions. There are too few Americans with the necessary science, technology, engineering and math skills to meet companies’ demand.”

Take a look at this insightful infographic from Born to Learn, which covers the current state of IT jobs in cloud computing. IDC stated that there were over one and a half million cloud-related jobs that went unfilled in 2012. It is predicted that within in the next three years, that number will grow to 7 million open cloud positions. How can we tighten this gap moving forward? Our students will create and fill the jobs of the future. We need to educate them to become trained, certified and hired in STEM careers.

So where can we start?  Microsoft's IT Academy programmes (www.microsoft.com/Itacademy) help schools and students bridge the technology skills gap with industry-recognised training and certification.   Students also need the best tools, so take a look at Microsoft's Dreamspark programme (www.dreamspark.com) which enables students to access Microsoft's professional design and development tools at no cost.   They can download these tools to their own devices and continue their learning at home.