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27 February 2020 | Community

P-TECH takes off in New Zealand

Students are faced with an overwhelming number of choices when it comes to what their future career can be. Given rapid advancements in technology, it’s very likely that many jobs have yet to be created, which only adds to the uncertainty many students can face as they grow through high school.

To give the next generation of leaders a boost as they begin building their careers, and to respond to the growing need for talent to fill emerging technology-related roles, we’re proud to partner with IBM to roll out the first cohort of students in New Zealand as part of the global P-TECH programme.

The initiative sees industry, high schools and tertiary education partners working together to address skills shortages and create an industry talent pipeline with the digital skills the industry needs.

“What I love about P-TECH is that it brings the whole community together in the classroom,” says Mike Smith, Managing Director of IBM New Zealand.

“Industry partners are right there alongside teachers, parents and students, through mentoring, internships, hands on experience, and workplace visits, so that the skills taught are relevant, up to date, and aligned with what businesses need. I’m excited to welcome our very first cohort of P-TECH students, who can look to the successes of other P-Tech graduates in more than 22 countries around the world.”

Over the course of the programme, students will earn an Advanced Diploma that will enable them to secure an entry-level position in a growing STEM industry or continue to further study in a higher education institution.

The students will also engage in group mentoring from IBM and The Warehouse Group team members, supporting students to be ready to begin a career by the time they graduate. The programme also provides hands-on educational experiences like workplace visits, guest speakers, internships and other workplace experiences to expand their view of what the business world is like.

“I’m excited for these young people to have their first experience with the business world, giving them the confidence they need to jumpstart their career journey,” says David Benattar, Chief Sustainability Officer at The Warehouse Group. “Companies like The Warehouse Group and IBM increasingly need digitally native, tech-savvy people to join their teams, and I’m proud to support a programme which gives them that opportunity.”

The need for a programme like this is clear, as seen in a 2018 IBM survey of more than 5,000 global executives which found that 60% of respondents struggle to keep workforce skills current and relevant in the face of rapid technological advancement.

There’s proof that the programme is working, too, with IBM reporting that early results in the USA show P-TECH graduation rates were five times the community college graduation rate for low-income students.

The first intake with students from Manurewa High School and Aorere College in Auckland recently began their P-TECH journey, meeting their mentors, establishing their goals for the programme and getting to know each other.

Watch the video below or visit to learn more.

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