With a shortage of experienced IT workers in New Zealand and the competition to recruit them increasing, Sky City Entertainment Group is hoping its new internship programme will help it secure the best of New Zealand’s up and coming young IT talent and at the same time provide them with much needed real world experience.
“It’s not a secret that there’s a big skills shortage in IT in New Zealand,” says Mike Clarke, CIO of Sky City. “We can only fix this skills shortage if we as an industry chip in and really develop our young people.”
Clarke, who is leading the programme, says it is an opportunity for Sky City to spot the talent required for its up coming IT projects. Employment by Sky City at the end of the internship is not guaranteed, but he thinks the work experience will benefit the interns in securing IT jobs in the future.
“Having a degree is a great start, but it doesn’t make you particularly employable right off the bat,” says Clarke. “At the end of it they get a year of experience and training, and hopefully they come out more employable than when they started.”
The internship will involve a year long paid position in the Sky City IT team, with candidates being provided internal and external training in system management, system support and delivery, and systems integration.
Interviews for the three available spots began last week, with the programme due to kick off shortly after Christmas.
Clarke believes that the interns will benefit from the varied IT requirements at Sky City, which has five locations across Australia and New Zealand.
“We are a very complex technical environment, there is a lot of technology here with a lot of layers and integration,” says Clarke. “If you are really keen, you are going to see a lot more in a year here than you would in most other places.”
He says he hopes that the hands-on experience will keep the interns interested in working in the industry for longer.
“At the moment a lot of these young IT people start out on a service desk,” says Clarke.
“It’s a great way to get your head into an organisation, but it’s very hard to prove you’re better than anyone else.
“For many graduates that’s not what they trained for. They get a job like that and get bored with it and say it’s not for me.”
Clarke says that Sky City will benefit from the fresh thinking and new approach towards IT that the interns will bring.
“These young IT people bring with them a different set of views and a different energy. We might even end up learning a few things from them.”