Resilient Christchurch ups the ante as Canterbury competes for top tech talent

"If you want to be part of a tech scene that is going places, Canterbury could be the place for you."

With its unique location, close to ski fields and surf beaches, Christchurch offers more than other New Zealand cities in the way of lifestyle, short commutes and top notch work-life balance.

The region’s resilience in the aftermath of the devastating 2011 earthquake has spawned innovation and entrepreneurship; and a lot of that energy has been funnelled into IT and technology development.

As the city and wider Canterbury rebuilds, unique opportunities are cropping up across the IT sector.

One challenge this brings for Canterbury’s IT landscape in 2015 is accessing suitably qualified tech staff; with 78 percent of employers noting it as the top business challenge for the region in the latest Absolute IT employer survey.

And unsurprisingly, the biggest internal challenge for IT employers is holding onto the talent they already have and creating the all important positive workplace environment.

A Hub of Tech Innovation

Christchurch is home to some of New Zealand’s coolest little startups, and this pocket of IT innovators is only going to grow.

“If you want to be part of a tech scene that is going places, and is relatively free of traditional red tape (so potentially your ideas can be heard and could be put into action quickly) and has huge potential for serious career ladder climbing, Canterbury could be the place for you,” says Grant Burley, Director, Absolute IT.

Burley says the Christchurch Central Development Unit are working hard to give Christchurch a new life in the wake of the disaster, facilitating various precincts and projects that will give Christchurch a unique flavour.

For Burley, Christchurch’s Innovation Precinct is not unlike Auckland’s GridAKL, carving a space for tech industry leaders and entrepreneurial enterprises to sit alongside each other in an innovation hub.

“The Innovation Precinct is home to multiple buildings, and is about to become home to tech giant Vodafone and Kathmandu headquarters,” he explains.

“The EPIC building is another exciting tech environment in Christchurch that came to be early in the recovery phases of post-earthquake Canterbury.

“Thanks to sponsors like Google, Weta Workshop, BNZ and 2Degrees, EPIC fosters collaborative IT business efforts and boasts a campus designed by Google.

Furthermore, EPIC Centre Grounds is home to 20 ICT and high-tech focused companies, from software developers, to social media experts and the Government’s idea incubator, Callaghan Innovation.

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