Businesses in the Manawatū will benefit from a new partnership between CEDA and ManawaTech as they support the Summer of Tech programme in 2024. With an aim to increase the number of recent tech graduates moving to the region, they will cover the Summer of Tech registration fee for participating businesses as well as co-funding 50% of the placement fee.

“Tech plays such an important role across the whole ecosystem,” says Greg Bignall, CEDA Business Development Manager. “So there’s a nice synergy because tech cuts across all sectors that we focus on at CEDA.”

Summer of Tech is a nationwide internship programme, established in 2006, that enables employers to connect directly with students and graduates on a digital platform, efficiently identifying best candidates for the roles and shortening the time spent recruiting. It also provides access to a tech-focused talent pool which makes it easier for businesses to go directly to students with related tech skills.

Registrations are ramping up for the businesses and students, though there are already approximately 200 students who have expressed interest in moving to Manawatū to undertake an internship. The programme complements existing channels for businesses seeking internships as it allows students from across the country to connect with Manawatū businesses, rather than only local students attending local tertiary institutions.

Ella Wilton, Support Coordinator, Integration Technologies Ltd (ITL).

“Recruitment has always been a challenge for local businesses,” says Steve Pavarno, ManawaTech Executive Officer. “While we get great graduates from local study providers like UCOL | Te Pūkenga, it simply isn’t enough to keep up with the growth and demand we are seeing in the region.

“We are excited about the chance to attract fresh talent to the region, there are some very talented people on the platform. The platform itself has some great tools that allow employers to search by experience, training, or commercial experience.”

As for economic impact, Pavarno is emphatic. “Tech has a multiplying effect. Tech experts will always provide increased efficiencies for businesses, this leads to better productivity leading to growth, development, and ultimately more money in the region,” he says.

Kate Morten, Employer Delivery Manager at Summer of Tech, states, “Over the last few years, we’ve seen a rise in the number of candidates willing to move to another region for the right role. We’re hoping this partnership will help attract fresh talent to the Manawatū over the summer, and that that talent will stay on in the region permanently, creating a sustainable talent pipeline.”

There are a range of events taking place to support this programme with an event planned during NZ Tech Week, which runs 20-26 May 2024. Morten will be coming to the region to attend a ManawaTech breakfast and there is an online meet-and-greet — which will include speed interviews — happening in September.

Craig Webb, Lead Developer, Integration Technologies Ltd (ITL).

“Manawatū-based businesses have had great success through Summer of Tech in the past, and we’re excited to expand the pool of employers getting involved this year. This partnership will enable tech and engineering employers to easily search for and connect with talented juniors at all levels of study, from all across the country. We’ll help employers market their opportunities through our platform, and get great brand exposure across our recruitment events — as well as lining up a bespoke event just for the Manawatū region to connect one-on-one with our candidates,” says Morten.

Bignall is gearing up for ambitious targets for the programme, setting a goal of having as many businesses register for the programme as possible. He sees it as a way to support the tech ecosystem broadly because tech is prevalent in many businesses. They already have companies in agritech and IT support taking part, and expect to see a range of additional industries represented. He notes the tech sector in Manawatū is thriving which is why it’s important to bring a programme like this to the region.

“Whilst you’re supporting one particular sector, if you cut it that way, actually you’re supporting a really broad range of sectors as well,” states Bignall.

Because Summer of Tech’s approach ensures more active students on the platform, they tend to have a high conversion rate of interns going on to work further with the company they were placed with after the internship. This all bodes well for the local tech scene.

Story by Katherine Blaney

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