Microsoft New Zealand today announced it is donating $1M in cash, software and services to the High Tech Youth Network to provide pathways for young Kiwis into the IT industry.
The grant, made under Microsoft's global YouthSpark programme, includes a commitment of investment to providing ICT industry credentialing opportunities, industry mentors and 4 -10 week work placements through High Tech Youth Academies for young people aged 16-24 years.
Microsoft NZ MD, Paul Muckleston, made the announcement today at One Tree Hill College in Penrose, where Prime Minister John Key joined with students and the CEO of the High Tech Youth Network for the official ground-breaking of a new High Tech Youth Studio and Academy at the school.
The One Tree Hill College Academy is the latest site for development by the High Tech Youth Network to offer vocational and education pathways for students into digital learning and training. There are currently six High Tech Youth Studios, located in West Auckland, Manukau City, Hamilton, Tauranga, Moerewa (Northland) and Whakatane. Sites in Dunedin, Fiji and Hawaii are also currently in development.
The studios target young people aged 8 -- 25 years in underserved communities, providing NCEA and industry related secondary and tertiary credentialing, as well as workplace internships and mentoring of young people in the High-Tech and Digital Media industries. At the studios, young people learn project management and technical skills such as computer game design, electronic publishing, Photoshop, animation and 3D graphic design.
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"Through our partnership with the High Tech Youth Network, we hope to inspire young New Zealanders to imagine and build a better future for themselves -- all while building a skilled and innovative workforce in New Zealand that is equipped to prosper in the global economy," said Muckleston.
"The High Tech Youth Network answers the calls of politicians and business leaders for educators and industry to work together to provide tangible pathways for young New Zealanders into long-term careers through training, mentoring and internships. It is education aligned to workplace requirements and job opportunities," he said.
The government's 2013 Budget also provided $1.9 million to enable the High Tech Youth Network to develop two new studios -- including the One Tree Hill College site -- and to continue to support young people enrolled at existing studios.
Mike Usmar, CEO of the High Tech Youth Network, said, "With Microsoft working alongside us as our most valued partner, the future for the High Tech Youth Network is strong, and will be positioned to serve more than 37,000 youth and whanau in the Oceania region towards developing IT skills that will impact them for a lifetime."