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'Catch 22' skills shortage programme launched

CodeBlue launches intern programme aimed at 'Catch 22' skills shortage facing NZ's IT sector

Auckland, New Zealand. 25 September 2014. New Zealand-owned IT services company CodeBlue has launched an Intern Programme at its Auckland branch, with plans to roll the programme out through CodeBlue branches around the country.

CodeBlue’s managing director Ken Davis says the Intern Programme is now open to recent IT graduates or those at an advanced stage in their study for a graduate Computer Science or related tertiary qualification.

“Our plan is to offer a total of five intern positions, starting at the end of the current academic year and running through to the beginning of the next 2015 academic year. CodeBlue will pay a wage to those interns selected and will offer full-time employment to those interns who show particular aptitude and who have a good fit with the CodeBlue culture.

“Based on the success of the programme at CodeBlue’s Auckland branch, there is the intention to broaden the scheme to CodeBlue branches in Hamilton, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch.”

Ken Davis says CodeBlue’s Intern Programme is aimed at helping to address a ‘Catch 22’ problem faced by a New Zealand IT industry wrestling with a serious shortage of trained and experienced staff. At the same time, recent IT graduates, lacking practical work experience, can find it difficult to gain entry into the industry based on academic qualifications alone.

“I think IT companies – particularly those such as CodeBlue which are New Zealand owned – have to step up to the plate and provide work experience opportunities and be prepared to invest in developing new talent,” Ken Davis says.

CodeBlue’s first Intern Programme entrant, Gian Pascual, is a good example of the Catch 22 gap. Gian is in his fifth year of study, with one paper remaining in a conjoint Auckland University Bcom/Bsc degree, majoring in accounting and computer science. He says the CodeBlue Intern Programme opportunity is a ‘big gulp of oxygen’ in helping him make the transition from university to a full time career in the IT industry.

“At university there’s lots of coding and lots of technical learning. That’s all good. But at CodeBlue I’ve learned that it’s not so much about the technology but rather about understanding the customers’ business. It’s about making the customers’ business work better. There’s more focus on preventing problems occurring, than on selling new technology. As soon as you understand how technology occurs from the customers’ business perspective, then it’s really exciting and seems really relevant.

“It’s also really great to work as part of a team, with everybody contributing different skills and energy to really make a difference for businesses in the real world,” Gian Pascual says.

“I hope that the intern position will lead to a job at CodeBlue. But whatever happens I feel that I have a really good bridge to my future in the IT business world. I have a much clearer understanding of what I know and what I don’t know. It’s a really great programme,” Gian Pascual concludes.


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