2degrees and its founding shareholder, the Hautaki Trust, have launched Hei Rere Mai (‘So You Can Fly’), a programme to increase Māori participation in the telecommunications industry.
Announced by Māori Affairs Minister, Hon. Dr Pita Sharples, the three-stage programme involves career advice, paid scholarships and careers for Māori.
Hei Rere Mai is:
· Career advice: Māori students in their last years of high school study will be provided with career advice by Accelerating Aotearoa, a specialist charitable trust that focuses on decile one and two schools in the Auckland region.
· Scholarships: A scholarship fund of $50,000 per annum will be made available to Māori studying towards ICT qualifications at Auckland University. These are open to Māori from across the country and can include funding towards the costs faced by students who must relocate to Auckland.
· Jobs with a future: 2degrees will recruit high-school leavers into its Customer Care team, providing a structured career programme whereby they study towards ICT qualifications and can progress into roles in the company’s IT and Networks divisions.
2degrees Director and Hautaki Trust Board member Bill Osborne says the programme delivers on the kaupapa the Trust envisaged when it first acquired radio spectrum more than a decade ago.
“For Māori, the investment in 2degrees is about more than money. The Trust is thrilled with the company’s progress so far and looks forward to future dividends. In the meantime, Hei Rere Mai provides a tangible way to get Māori involved in this exciting industry and create intergenerational expertise,” says Mr Osborne.
“Via this programme, Māori have real opportunities to be part of one New Zealand’s most exciting and fast growing businesses – one that all Māori, via the Hautaki Trust, have a stake in.”
2degrees Chief Executive Eric Hertz says the programme will help 2degrees nurture and create talent at a time when skilled ICT workers are hard to find.
“2degrees was built on the hard work of Māori and the 40 different nationalities employed in the company today. By inspiring young Māori to work in our industry, then providing them with opportunities to learn – on the job or at university – we’re creating tomorrow’s knowledge workers,” says Mr Hertz.
“Hei Rere Mai will see career advice from Accelerating Aotearoa in 2012, with university scholarships also available for study next year. We will work with Māori media to promote job opportunities within 2degrees in coming months.”
Mr Hertz says structured careers in 2degrees will begin in Customer Care, where employees get to play their part in delivering the company’s highly awarded customer service. Once employees have shown a strong customer ethos they will have opportunities to study towards ICT qualifications on-the-job.
Employees who are customer focused, know the business and the technology will then be offered roles in the IT and Networks teams, where they will deal hands-on with the latest mobile technology and systems.
Those who win scholarships will be provided with internships at 2degrees, so they gain practical experience while studying.
Both new employees and scholarship winners will be required to assist the work of Accelerating Aotearoa – spending time in schools as role models for young Māori considering a future in the telecommunications industry.