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CIO upfront: Inside a different kind of IT bootcamp

Sunit Prakash, Guest Post. 10 December 2018, 8:01 am
CIO upfront: Inside a different kind of IT bootcamp

I have been mentoring ICT professionals - new graduates, migrants - for years.

And, with apologies to the original Kiwi Landing Pad based in San Francisco which helps New Zealand companies gain a toehold in the US market, I raised the idea of transposing this concept for skilled migrants.

I called it the Wellington-based Kiwi Landing Pad for skilled migrants.

While it has been widely reported that there is an ICT skill shortage, and New Zealand promotes itself overseas as an attractive proposition; when they land up in the country, several skilled migrants and international students find it difficult to break into the local Wellington job market.

Many end up performing low level unskilled jobs, a few return back home to their country. Even those who are successful in finding a role and have been in the work force for several years, they are often performing at a level much below their skills and experience for a prolonged period.

On the one hand this has a financial and mental wellbeing impact on the individual and their families; on the other hand, the industry, and New Zealand suffers because of having a skilled, but un-productive workforce.

As I said in this interview with Stuff, it will be like a bootcamp, set up to help participants gain an understanding of opportunities, the local job market, key players, how the system works, job search strategies, networking, CV prep, interview and so on.

Recently, the Kiwi Landing Pad for skilled migrants became a reality of sorts. Weeks of each other, I ran two such sessions, the first one with support from the Indian High Commission, and the second one, held in conjunction with IT Professionals NZ.

There were many similar themes. An ICT professional. A recent graduate. An overseas student. A skilled migrant. A refugee. Their common question: Can you help me find a job?

In the first session, I approached the Indian High Commission. With minimum fuss and in no time, His Excellency Sanjiv Kohli agreed to host the session and his able Commercial Assistant Mamta Bhatt packaged it and promoted it through their social media channels.

We had eight to ten registrations, and it forced me to create a run-sheet. Came the day, we ran the session, and it became quickly evident that the one-and-a-half hours we had budgeted for was not going to be enough.

Fast forward, I made a chance comment on the lack of diversity and inclusion in an event hosted by the Wellington branch of IT Professionals NZ. I put it out there that should anyone be interested, I had material to run a session for new, skilled migrants.

Paul Heath and Kay Jones clearly saw the need, jumped on it, and an ITP workshop (free for members) was locked and loaded.

Paul Heath worked it so that anyone who attended the full workshop would be entitled to join ITP's popular mentoring programme.

The program nicely complemented the larger programme of work ITP is doing with schools, tertiary education, accreditation of degrees, recognition of overseas qualifications and becoming an effective CIO.


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