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Northland digital hub For Gen Z attracts Provincial Growth Fund boost

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The NGen Room, a brand new digital hub in Northland set up to train rangatahi aged 15-24 has secured $990,000 of Government backing from the Provincial Growth Fund through the pilot programme, He Poutama Rangatahi.

Managed by He Puna Marama Trust, NGEN Room is located at the Innonative Base in Whangarei to tool up Gen Z with skills that will contribute to the national digital economy that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise reports has annual revenues of NZ$324M. "We’re one hundred percent focussed on increasing the number of Māori throughout the IT industry where currently there are hardly any of us. At the culmination of the course we’ve already identified a raft of employers ready in the wings to introduce our graduates too," says Raewyn Tipene, Chief Executive of He Puna Marama Trust.

Term one of the 12 month programme starting early 2020 will be what Tipene calls a "technical taster" where students will be introduced to IT, creative digital design, and business programming.

The intensive curriculum will teach strong skills in hardcoding, robotics, artificial intelligence, digital design and social media.

"We envisage when all of our NGEN Room graduates leave they’ll be commercially valuable by having a portfolio of work to present to future employers and/or higher learning courses. The course thanks to this funding will open up a segue way for potential employment in anything from app development, Help desk, IT programming through to systems engineering," Tipene says.

The NGEN Room will be a hybrid of innovation offering developer, learning and event spaces. It will host the Digital Tech Academy and be a hub for existing programmers and digitech developers to create code, content at workshops.

"It makes sense to activate this. Te Tai Tokerau was one of the first to receive the roll-out of ultrafast broadband so NGEN Room is going to empower Gen Z to be digitally enabled to drive economic development both locally and nationally in this sector."

Tipene’s vision is to extend the reach of NGEN Room nationally by forming partnerships by aligning with similar digital hubs in Auckland and Wellington.

He Poutama Rangatahi, is operated under the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise and intends to match regional needs between Rangatahi and employers. It provides funding for pathways of employment for rangatahi who currently aren’t learning or earning.

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