The establishment of the Te Uru Rangi technology scholarship can help young Maori realise they have a future in the ICT sector, says Callaghan Innovation GM Maori Economy, Hemi Rolleston.
Te Uru Rangi, which means Stargate, a portal to the future, is a collaborative partnership between Enspiral Dev Academy, Te Puni Kōkiri (the Ministry of Māori Development), New Zealand Trade & Enterprise and Callaghan Innovation.
The 19-week bootcamp focusses on technology skills, but also connects graduates with potential employers.
“At the official launch of the scholarship on August 26, guests heard from two rangatahi who had come from fairly tough backgrounds to secure jobs with Xero and Datacom respectively.
“These two showed there are plenty of able and determined young people out there, who could make it in the world of ICT. If we can put the opportunities in their way, the successes will come in fairly quick time.”
While the benefits to young Maori of working in high-value, high-tech jobs is obvious, the sector itself also gains, says Enspiral Dev Academy co-founder Joshua Vial.
“Most software developers in New Zealand approach problems from a similar perspective because they come from similar backgrounds. By supporting people into the sector from a range of backgrounds, New Zealand will be able to solve problems in better and more innovative ways, which means our technology industry will not only thrive – it will be one of the best in the world.”
Te Uru Rangi aims to have 100 graduates through the programme and in high value jobs in the next three years.
To kick-start that ambition, Ngai Tahu has invested $25,000 towards placing tribal members in the programme.
Rolleston says while the money provided by Ngai Tahu is important, the leadership the gesture demonstrates is more significant.
“This is hopefully the first of a number of iwi becoming involved in making this scholarship a success, and helping to inspire young New Zealanders of all backgrounds to have a crack at a rewarding, fast-changing sector.”