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Summer of Tech makes for a season of learning (for interns and employers alike)

In last week’s blog Jordan Carlton shared her experience of working at Psoda as our Summer of Tech intern. So I thought this week, we’d give our view of the programme and hopefully encourage more companies to sign up to this awesome initiative.

We decided to participate for a couple of reasons. We wanted to attract new talent into Psoda and we wanted to give something back to the community by mentoring a student over the summer.

Summer of Tech is very well run and designed to make the process of matching students and potential employers as easy as possible. There is a tonne of support for both parties throughout the entire summer.

The programme kicks off well before the employers get involved – to give you an idea, the 2013 Summer of Tech final hurrah happened on a Thursday and the 2014 programme kicked off on the Saturday! No rest for the wicked.

It starts with the Summer of Tech team raising awareness of local tech career pathways and work experience opportunities to students and encouraging registration and participation. The winter months are spent preparing students for work, through a series of boot camps covering technical and soft skills.  They have a huge number of activities and industry volunteers that support this.

Potential employer meeting

Before agreeing to sign up as an employer we attended a potential employer information session run by the Summer of Tech team. It gave us loads of information about the programme and gave us a chance to network with the previous years’ employers to hear how the programme worked from their perspective.

After that first session we decided to sign up and offer two internships for the summer.

Internship logging

Once we agreed to go ahead we were asked to register on the Summer of Tech website and list the internships we could offer so the students could see what was available and show their interest (or not). This allowed us to review the student profiles and compile a shortlist before the meet and greet sessions.

Meet and greet

One of the best events was the meet and greet session.

With over 300 students and more than 40 employers it was full-on, with each employer given two minutes to pitch their internships before the meet and greet began.

It was then up to the students to approach the employers they were interested in at their stands and ask questions.

It was clear during the event that the Summer of Tech team had done a huge amount of work preparing the students for this – even down to giving them individual business cards with their contact details on them, which was a fabulous touch.

Interviews

Once the meet and greet was over, it was time to select the students we wanted to interview. All we had to do was pick the shortlisted candidates and preferred interview times on the website and turn up at the allotted times, as Summer of Tech did the rest.

Offers

Offer day was interesting – offers were made through the Summer of Tech website and automatically released at 12pm on a Friday. If your preferred candidate didn’t accept the offer you were free to then make an offer to the next candidate on your list. The only drawback was if your preferred candidate decided to sit on the offer, it could not be sent to the next person on the list until it was automatically released 24 hours later. We had a situation where our first choice candidate for one of the internships waited 20 hours to decline and by that time our second choice had received another offer. Unfortunately that role didn’t get filled.

Luckily our first choice for the other internship accepted.

Costs

The cost to participate was very reasonable – $500 + GST for the registration and a placement fee of $1000 + GST per intern.

We’re also expected to pay the interns at least $18 per hour.

Support

Summer of Tech provided huge support to both the students and employers before and during the summer. They offer a wide range of workshops and training courses before the meet and greet for students and hold seminars and networking events during the summer as well.

Conclusion

We had such a great experience we’re looking forward to doing it all again this year! We’d anticipated us having to do most of the teaching, but the learning went both ways. Jordan gave us a fresh perspective on various aspects of our business and her insights have been incorporated into more than just the code.

If you’re interested in participating, contact Summer of Tech on info@summeroftech.co.nz. Online registrations will open from April, here: www.summeroftech.co.nz

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