Prime Minister John Key today launched the High Tech Youth Academy (HTYA) at Kia Aroha College, in South Auckland, less than a week out from the general election.
The HTYA is a programme aimed at people aged 16-24 from decile one to three schools and in underserved communities, and have an interest in technology and media.
Among other things, HTYA participants will learn about animation, digital production, 3D gaming, visual design and robotics from mentors in the business community.
The HTYA is the most recent programme provided by the Computer Clubhouse Trust, a group of five drop-in centres or clubhouses across the country, which aims to encourage the development of technology skills in underprivileged children.
The programme was developed in partnership with and funded partly by Microsoft New Zealand.
“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,” says Paul Muckleston, managing director of Microsoft NZ.
At the opening of the program in Otara today, Key espoused National’s commitment to improving New Zealand’s ICT sector with Ultra Fast Broadband and more support for initiatives like the HTYA.
He briefly touched upon the controversial sales of state owned assets when talking about funding such initiatives.
“We are going to invest some of the money we release from the mixed ownership model and put it into a future investment fund, and invest it into 21st century schools,” says Key.
"If you’re a young kid in Tokoroa and you want to take a Latin class, technology allows you to get in and do that from Auckland Grammar.”