Peace Software has set up a scholarship programme to target top students in their second year at university.
The Peace Scholarship Programme makes up to $100,000 available for undergraduates in the form of 20 scholarships.
The money helps them get through their last year at university and gives them work experience at Peace, before they start working for the company at the end of their degree. They also get to take part in an american styled staff option scheme called PeaceStock.
Students can apply for one of the scholarships over the Internet www.peace.co.nz/public/schol arship.htm.
Peace Software ceo Brian Peace says use of the Web fits in with the Web being the backbone of the company's products and services.
He says the programme is a win-win scenario for students and for Peace.
"We get to know them early and they get some work experience, eligibility for our options plan, international travel and the use of the very latest technology in the market."
Peace says he's looking for a synergy between universities and his company.
"This is not an altruistic or philosophical thing to do. This is an opportunity for us to be very competitive in gaining the very best people coming out of the universities in New Zealand."
The work experience means students get exposure to Peace's company culture and tools and, he says, the programme can be seen as a low cost form of investment in training employees, because when they start, they're up to speed.
This was the case for electrical engineering student, Tony Kong (20), who was the first student to get the programme rolling.
Peace offered Kong - who began university after completing the seventh form in his sixth form year - a $5000 scholarship for his final university year, after the A+ student caught his attention while doing work experience at Peace. The company also offered him a job at the end of his degree.
Kong says when he started with the company this year he was able to go straight into a development project, which he wouldn't have been able to do without the work experience he'd gained at Peace.
He says that financially the scholarship is great, but getting the work experience is the best part of the programme.
"I've worked [at Peace] during the past summer [holiday] and I've seen a company which uses real top-notch technology and the people who work here are really capable."
Kong says he knew that joining the company would be a great start to his career.
Peace says he wants to invest in the intellectual capital of New Zealand, saying that the future is not in bricks and mortar.
"We've got great people and we've got an excellent education system producing the sort of people that we want to employ. We can train them up in our tool-sets and give them the advantages of an overseas company, without them having to go overseas - in other words help us avoid this brain drain that everybody's concerned about."
He wants to send out a clear message to students that there are "fabulous opportunities" in the New Zealand IT industry with the local companies.
Kong also believes the programme will help curb the present trend of the technical brain drain.
"At 'varsity quite
a few of the top students do go overseas to do post-graduate [study]. When they finish that they get head-hunted by big companies overseas and they never come back."
Peace believes the scholarship programme will be so successful that the company will "do the same, with more money next year and [offer] another 20 or so scholarships".