New fund to help meet need for homegrown tech talent

A new tuition fund to train software developers has been launched to help address the critical shortage of IT talent in New Zealand.

Many local businesses are having to spend up to three times as much to recruit developers from overseas with a recent survey suggesting that local tech companies will need 10,000 more people to fill roles over the next three years.

Funding of up to $12,500 will be available for students who enrol in the Enspiral Dev Academy, an intensive nine-week Wellington-based course for people serious about a career in one of New Zealand’s top tech companies.

The course is the first of its kind in the country and Enspiral has partnered with Xero, Powershop, Trade Me and ten other local employers to directly connect graduates with roles.

Initial funding is being provided by social enterprise collective Enspiral, Dunedin-based international tech company ADInstruments and online energy retailer Powershop.

Xero have committed to providing support for Dev Academy students later in the year and Enspiral hopes to grow the funder pool to 25 by the end of 2014 through private and public sector partnerships including business, government and Iwi.

Enspiral Dev Academy co-founder Rohan Wakefield says the fund is the most effective way to lower the barriers to entering the IT sector.

“We want to do everything we can to make it easier for people to get into IT,” he says.

“There is huge demand for passionate and skilled entry level developers and with over 50 percent of jobs currently listed on Trade Me paying more than $100,000 it’s a career well worth thinking seriously about.”

Wakefield says Powershop will be contributing $1,500 scholarships to the first 10 students who enrol in the Ruby on Rails programming language.

“There’s no question that New Zealand needs more IT developers,” he adds. “Our introduction to the Enspiral Dev Academy team came via the successful Dev Bootcamp programme in San Francisco.”

ADInstrument’s Chief Technical Officer Jon Enlow says they’re always looking for ways to attract talent to Dunedin.

“Partnering with Dev Academy was an easy decision for us. We love the idea of expanding the local technical ecosystem in Dunedin with Dev Academy graduates, increasing the diversity in the IT industry here and seeing more talented developers settle in this great city,” he adds.

The first 14 Dev Academy students start their pre-course preparation this week, with class starting in May.

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