YEA Data Points

Earn to learn and investment outside of the traditional trades for our future wealth and prosperity

Written by Kerry Topp, Founder, The Kerry Topp Collective

What are the challenges for students?

Students don’t know what they don’t know. Schools need to work with businesses to make it easier for students to understand why a path to a tech field of play will be beneficial. In short, students aren’t sure how to present “who they are” to tech businesses.

What are the opportunities for Schools?

Schools need to help students articulate who they are and what they are good at. Schools need to be the point of engagement to ease both workplace experience and earn as you learn internships.

What’s the benefit to rangatahi and their whānau?

Rangatahi who are paid to learn, can add to household income and at the same time are on a pathway to high-value job pathways. As an example, an Ministry of Education funded initiative by Kidscoin called Three Bags Full provide a foundational tech-readiness programme designed and delivered by Māori and Pacific staff, for Māori and Pacific youth. High school students learn in-demand digital tech and future-focussed skills that prepare them for further technical education. The programme employs a whanau-centric approach where we engaged with whanau to improve their digital-fluency. The results have been great to watch.

The underlying causes of Māori and Pacifica economic vulnerability are historic and stem from systemic racism. The earn to learn system has the potential to unleash many Māori and Pacifica families and open up high pay/lower risk sectors.

What’s missing?

Our investigation shows data is missing. As an example, there doesn’t appear to be data points on the Māori and Pasifika placements through internship programmes like Summer of Tech. We also appear to lack data showing the ethnicity of those in training positions within the healthcare, social help and construction sectors as examples.

What’s needed?

If you want to understand what more is required, I strongly encourage you to read the Digital Tech Skills and Talent Report released by IT Professionals New Zealand. Their Plan for Digital Tech Skills and Talent draws on work previously completed in the Digital Skills Aotearoa report, ‘supplemented by additional research and with a focus on what needs to happen to enable faster scale-up and transformation of our industry’

An invitation: Join the movement

Many of the incentives offered by the government and practices adopted by businesses will continue to hold inequality in place. It is time for a change. If you’d like to know more about the benefits of earning to learn pathways, please contact Andrew Gurr at Fusion Networks on LinkedIn. He is more than happy to discuss what they have found.