The Computer Clubhouse Trust (CCT) continues to ramp up their mission to provide access to high-technology skills and experiences that result in jobs in the ICT sector for young people in Auckland and across New Zealand with the launch of the High Tech Youth Academy.
Prime Minister John Key launches the High Tech Youth Academy at Clubhouse 274 in Otara today. The High Tech Youth Academy (HTYA) is targeted at young people aged 16-24 from decile 1 – 3 schools and underserved communities with interests in high tech industries such as animation, digital production, 3D gaming, visual design and robotics. Participants are identified by schools or community organisations as having above average capabilities and emergent high tech skills.
The HTYA concept originated from a successful pilot with the Clubhouse Digital Media Unit funded by Microsoft New Zealand in 2011. The members of the unit developed remarkable skills in digital production and film making resulting in a commercial contract with Crown Fibre Holdings as part of the Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) roll out.
Paul Muckleston, Managing Director of Microsoft NZ says, “Microsoft believes in working with Kiwi communities to foster digital inclusion and to provide access to technologies and skills that stimulate local economic growth. The graduates of the High Tech Youth Academy will be the future, highly skilled employees of not only Microsoft, but of many other leading New Zealand organisations.”
The ASB Community Trust has provided three years of funding to help establish and operate the HYTA. Ken Whitney, Chair of the ASB Community Trust says, “This is exactly the game changer we were looking for. We saw this initiative as fitting well within our Maori and Pacific Education Initiative criteria because the Clubhouse has already proven that they are making a difference within underserved communities such as the one here in Otara.”
Acting Chair of the Computer Clubhouse Trust Sam Chapman remarks that “ASB Community Trust makes a point of understanding what our communities need, and then gets on with funding great things to happen.”
The academy’s points of difference are connection and engagement with the ICT sector through partners such as the New Zealand Information Communications Technology Group (NZICT), Oktobor Animation and others. These partners work alongside Computer Clubhouse Trust, schools and communities to help create a direct talent pipeline from school to work or tertiary studies.
Mike Usmar, CEO of the Compuer Clubhouse Trust says, “The HTYA is about seeing creativity becoming the premium qualification in New Zealand’s emergent digital economy. This initiative takes highly motivated Computer Clubhouse youth from underserved communities and connects them directly with the ICT industry, and along the way they gain credentials that could potentially land them a job at one of country’s top technology companies or digital content studios”
The HTYA is the most recent addition to services Computer Clubhouse is delivering across New Zealand. There are currently five Clubhouses in New Zealand: Wellington, Hamilton, Whakatane, Wanganui and the flagship Clubhouse 274 in Otara. A new Clubhouse is under construction in West Auckland. The plan is for 12 Clubhouses opened or opening in New Zealand by the end of 2012.