Education

IBMers Join P-TECH Students During Blue Day Out

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Author: Mike Smith, Managing Director, IBM New Zealand

IBM’s latest global research shows that employer demands are rapidly changing; in just two years, the importance of technical and digital proficiencies has dropped significantly relative to the willingness to be flexible, agile and adaptable to change and the ability to prioritise.

One of the most dramatic findings is that over the next three years, as many as 120 million workers in the world’s 12 largest economies may need to be retrained as a result of AI and intelligent automation, leading to  CEOs ranking investment in people as the number one way to accelerate performance.

Many businesses will focus on up-skilling existing staff, but really smart ones will also invest in their talent pipeline, adopting innovative models like P-TECH, a three-way partnership between high schools, tertiary education providers and employers designed to create work-ready students with practical experience and vital ‘soft’ skills.

Students from Manurewa High School

Students from Manurewa High School

What makes P-TECH’s approach different is the strong connection between students and industry, bridging the gap between employment and formal education. I’ve personally seen this link in action over the past few months as IBM and the Warehouse Group volunteers have joined student workshops at Aorere College and Manurewa High School in Auckland. These ‘taster sessions’ provide a flavour of P-TECH content together with advice and guidance from IBM mentors for students preparing to enrol in P-TECH in 2020. The most recent was last week during IBM’s ‘Blue Day Out,’ where our people are encouraged to work within communities to give back.

As these students complete their five-year course of study and work experience leading to a tech-related career, they will encounter a very different workplace. The research I mentioned earlier, The Enterprise Guide to Closing the Skills Gap builds a global picture based on input from over 5,670 execs in 48 countries, and it shows every industry is being disrupted by powerful technology, data science and machine learning.

Students participating in P-TECH are going to be more prepared than others to navigate a work environment which requires individuals who can communicate effectively, apply problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to drive innovation using new technologies, and draw and act on insights from vast amounts of data.

Launched in New Zealand with The Warehouse Group and Manukau Institute of Technology as foundation industry partners, the programme is generating interest among schools. We would welcome more industry partners to extend the programme into additional communities and help build the next generation of work-ready young Kiwis. Interested? Contact Liz Hampton, ibm@nz1.ibm.com.

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