The Computer Clubhouse Trust (CCT) continues to ramp up their mission to provide access to high-technology skills and experiences that result in jobs in the ICT sector for young people in Auckland and across New Zealand with the launch of the High Tech Youth Academy.
Prime Minister John Key launches the High Tech Youth Academy at Clubhouse 274 in Otara today. The High Tech Youth Academy (HTYA) is targeted at young people aged 16-24 from decile 1 – 3 schools and underserved communities with interests in high tech industries such as animation, digital production, 3D gaming, visual design and robotics. Participants are identified by schools or community organisations as having above average capabilities and emergent high tech skills.
The HTYA concept originated from a successful pilot with the Clubhouse Digital Media Unit funded by Microsoft New Zealand in 2011. The members of the unit developed remarkable skills in digital production and film making resulting in a commercial contract with Crown Fibre Holdings as part of the Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) roll out.
Paul Muckleston, Managing Director of Microsoft NZ says, “Microsoft believes in working with Kiwi communities to foster digital inclusion and to provide access to technologies and skills that stimulate local economic growth. 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.”
The ASB Community Trust has provided three years of funding to help establish and operate the HYTA. Ken Whitney, Chair of the ASB Community Trust says, “This is exactly the game changer we were looking for. We saw this initiative as fitting well within our Maori and Pacific Education Initiative criteria because the Clubhouse has already proven that they are making a difference within underserved communities such as the one here in Otara.”
Acting Chair of the Computer Clubhouse Trust Sam Chapman remarks that “ASB Community Trust makes a point of understanding what our communities need, and then gets on with funding great things to happen.”
The academy’s points of difference are connection and engagement with the ICT sector through partners such as the New Zealand Information Communications Technology Group (NZICT), Oktobor Animation and others. These partners work alongside Computer Clubhouse Trust, schools and communities to help create a direct talent pipeline from school to work or tertiary studies.
Mike Usmar, CEO of the Compuer Clubhouse Trust says, “The HTYA is about seeing creativity becoming the premium qualification in New Zealand’s emergent digital economy. This initiative takes highly motivated Computer Clubhouse youth from underserved communities and connects them directly with the ICT industry, and along the way they gain credentials that could potentially land them a job at one of country’s top technology companies or digital content studios”
Lolesio Lolesio, a Clubhouse alumni currently studying Digital Design at AUT University says of the academy, “A great opportunity for youth at school to get recognised skills in what they want to do.”
“Being part of the Clubhouse Digital Media Unit has let me realise my passion for media. It’s given me the skills to actually create my own media. An academy would be great”, adds Masiu Filihia, a Kia Aroha College student and senior Clubhouse member.
In June this year, Auckland Mayor Len Brown said, "Young people empowered with high-tech skills such as those developed in Computer Clubhouses will ensure Auckland has the present and future workforce necessary to fill the high-tech jobs that will help drive the city's and the nation's productivity"
The HTYA is the most recent addition to services Computer Clubhouse is delivering across New Zealand. There are currently five Clubhouses in New Zealand: Wellington, Hamilton, Whakatane, Wanganui and the flagship Clubhouse 274 in Otara. A new Clubhouse is under construction in West Auckland. The plan is for 12 Clubhouses opened or opening in New Zealand by the end of 2012.
According to Mr.Usmar, “This HTYA will help ensure the success of our plans to reproduce and advance the Clubhouse learning model which provides access to high-tech infrastructure and training to young people in underserved communities across the country, and prepares them for jobs and careers in the sector.”
About the High Tech Youth Academy
The HTYA is a creative learning studio that harnesses and encourages creativity, innovation, exploration, and connectedness to provide young learners with:
· internationally recognized high-tech industry qualifications and skills including: Microsoft, Adobe and Autodesk
· practical experience in the high tech industry through shadow programs and internships with partner companies
· opportunities to produce commercial and community projects
· the ability to earn and secure opportunities for employment
· the opportunity to develop business operations and entrepreneurship skills.
The Computer Clubhouse Trust is a member of the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network. The Intel Computer Clubhouse Network is a program of the Museum of Science, Boston with support from MIT Media Laboratory.