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Getting the hang of it – learning on the job


JUDE BARBACK looks at two companies offering opportunities for new or potential employees to become savvy with their IT systems and infrastructure. Is the growing complexity and customisation of businesses’ technology increasing the need for work-based learning?

IT student from Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) Aidan Brown describes his new internship with ANZ as “career-changing”.

The 22-year-old has become ANZ’s first New Zealand Technology Intern as part of a programme that showcases the range of employment opportunities at New Zealand’s biggest bank by giving WelTec IT students a chance to view the bank from the inside.

Businesses like ANZ are increasingly looking for new and appealing ways of preparing new and future employees to become savvy with their bespoke IT systems. They are keen to build on students’ prior training and knowledge by exposing them to their unique technological infrastructure, software and systems.

Technology internships

Aidan Brown is studying towards a Bachelor of Information Technology. Each week he spends a day at ANZ’s technology office in Wellington learning about different parts of the bank.

“I am spending time in each part of the IT team – from attending business meetings where decisions are made about projects, to compliance, technical testing, quality assurance and looking into what is required to support ANZ’s core banking service,” says Brown. “At the moment I am primarily working on mobile phone development.”

He says the internship has opened his eyes to different directions his career could take.

“The ANZ internship is career changing. I wasn’t thinking about banking at the start of my degree as I didn’t know about the opportunities. The technology internship has really given me a lot to think about in terms of my future career.”

The ANZ internship is one component of a new collaboration between ANZ and WelTec’s School of Business and Information Technology designed to address the skills shortage and gender imbalance in the IT industry.
ANZ general manager technology Craig Bunyan says he thinks the internships will lead to more IT students considering the banking industry when they graduate.

“IT is constantly changing and we’re keen to attract more young talent like Aidan to ANZ to keep pace with evolving technologies.”

The 2016 ANZ Technology Internships are now open to WelTec students until 6 September. Students need New Zealand permanent residency and will ideally be completing a Bachelor of Technology. The 150-hour internship is worked out over the final year of study.

ANZ is also developing a similar technology internship programme in Auckland.

Getting qualified on the job

Joanna Dargie from Palmerston North can’t believe her luck. Straight out of high school, the 18-year-old has secured a full-time job with the local House of Travel branch and the opportunity to study towards a recognised qualification paid for by her employer.

Like ANZ, House of Travel is eager to have new employees becomefamiliar with their specific IT systems. The travel agency has taken a different route, however, introducing a scheme that allows selected new employees to gain a nationally accredited qualification via on-the-job training.

The scheme will see inductees working toward a National Certificate in Travel Level 4, an NZQA accredited qualification, while employed by the travel company. House of Travel will meet the costs of the training and qualification. It is expected to take employees one to two years to complete.

The qualification is likely to appeal to school leavers looking for a career in the industry, like Dargie, who is the first person selected for the training programme. Dargie, who initially did work experience at the agency while still at school, says she’s grateful for the opportunity.

“Getting a full-time job a week out of high school and getting to train without having to take out a big student loan is an amazing opportunity,” she says. “The team are really supportive and know so much, and I can’t wait to learn more, and travel more, as I work towards the qualification.”

Stephen Parsons, owner-operator of House of Travel in Palmerston North says this is a significant step for the industry. The training will expose employees to the more technological aspects of the job.

“Many of the graduates who come to work in the travel industry after training elsewhere have basic knowledge, but we need to teach them our technology, systems and culture before they can start work in earnest,” says Parsons.

“We’ll be training Joanna in the technical side of things, such as how to use the up-to-date technology we have in the office and how to process a sale, as well as teaching her how to deal with customers on an everyday basis,” says Parsons.

Head trainer Pania Burgess says the ability to offer the qualification in-house is a huge step forward in offering development opportunities to staff.

Is enhancing work-based learning?

The programmes offered by ANZ and House of Travel are not the first of their kind, but they do provide good examples of different ways formal learning can be integrated into the workplace.

Industry Training Federation chief executive Josh Williams says the industry training and apprenticeships sector has made changes to its programmes and qualifications as a result of the adoption of new technologies in firms.

“The use of digital technologies is increasingly ubiquitous across the workforce through things like point of sale systems in the service industries and the widespread use of portable devices and GPS in many industries such as construction and transport, so we need to make sure that our training and assessment programmes are delivering these essential workplace skills.”

Williams says digital literacy has become a key capability for workplaces.

“Interestingly, it is also driving new and innovative training and assessment processes, through the use of digital portfolios, the use of photos and videos as forms of evidence, supporting long distance assessment, and also the onsite delivery of training and assessment resources to workers.”

A new system (see side story) trialled by industry training organisation (ITO) ServiceIQ is a good example. It would seem technology is not only driving on-job training, but defining how such training is delivered.

Onwards and upwards with on-job training technology

One industry training organisation (ITO) is making good use of technology to help employers and their employees complete their on-job training. Building on its existing technologies, ServiceIQ is currently trialling a system that will see an end to the cost, hassle and wasted time that comes with completing and sending in printed workbooks.

The service industry ITO, started replacing time-consuming paper-based systems with faster, more effective technology in 2013.

“The future for on-job training relies on flexible technologies where people can advance their skills anytime, anywhere,” says ServiceIQ chief executive Dean Minchington. “It’s helpful for employees and it makes the job of increasing capability easier, faster and cheaper for businesses.”

Over 15,000 employees from a range of sectors used the ITO’s new Skills Online programmes in the first six months of operation, providing employees with a quick and easy way to upskill or refresh their knowledge.

All training agreements are completed online. And now, its latest technology currently under trial will take this one step further, removing the need for paper-based assessment altogether.

The switch to online technology is designed to enhance ServiceIQ’s customer experience at every opportunity – from the point a business registers and trainees sign up for workplace training programmes, through to assessment, completion and the awarding of qualifications.


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