YEA Data Points

Technology leaders accelerating the growth of a fair Aotearoa

Written by Kerry Topp, Founder, The Kerry Topp Collective

A growing cohort of technology leaders are starting to shift intergenerational inequality. They are working to create ‘earn to learn’, another name for apprenticeships, pathways into the tech sector for under-represented communities.

Earn to learn programmes enable students to learn and earn whilst picking up valuable skills and experience – all done while at school. Earn to learn programmes help bridge the gap between students, schools, and businesses in the tech sector.

Who is pursuing this approach and what are the results?

Fusion Networks Andrew Gurr first started paid internships four years ago. In that time, the company has seen some 40 students from lower-decile regions progress through Fusion internships.

Globally, the rate people leave employers is significant. It hurts tech employers. As an example, replacing an employee can be 50 per cent to 200 per cent of their salary. The NZ Tech sector reports a 19 per cent annual churn or turnover rate for IT professionals.

Education is a fraction of this cost.

Fusion’s results show employees who are even more committed, excited, and engaged. Interns past and present now make up more than half their School IT support division, and attrition is almost zero.

“The success on the business side is undeniable. We’ve halved our HR costs.” – Andrew Gurr | Managing Director | Fusion Networks

Why aren’t more tech leaders embracing this approach?

Business leaders cite the cost to their business of inducting interns as a big concern. The cost includes management time, impact on regular work and other required support. They also perceive their lack of capacity to support and develop the intern as a significant barrier. Finding both suitable interns and suitable projects for them is also a concern.

Join our call-to-action next week! Kerry discusses some of the challenges and benefits of earn to learn opportunities