Across South Auckland there are growing efforts to support young people into tech, enterprise and entrepreneurship career pathways to help equip them with the tools, opportunities and connections to embrace the future of work and increase equity.
The rapid development of new technologies is fast changing the nature of work and jobs; as well as how young people engage with the world. Tech companies are seeking young people grounded confidently in their own identity. Our market places are becoming enriched with youth-led enterprise initiatives. Foundation North has observed in South Auckland the overlapping intersection of business, enterprise, digital and technology and acknowledges the importance of supporting community initiatives to empower rangatahi to fulfil their aspirations.
Now that COVID-19 has repositioned the world to re-think communications, access to services and resources, connectedness and connectivity, Māori and Pacific rangatahi are likely to experience even greater disadvantage, exclusion and inequities as a result of the shift to automation. As a way of addressing these inequities, Foundation North acknowledges how critical it is to invest in initiatives that enhance life opportunities and create positive conditions in which young people can thrive.
Foundation North also supports activity that will lead to thriving tamariki, rangatahi and whānau, improved equity and wellbeing as Māori and as Pacific peoples, communities leading their own solutions and changing systems, tangata whenua as partners in decision making, and Māori and Pacific languages and cultures thriving.
Over the last 12 months, we have proudly supported a number of projects and initiatives working with rangatahi in tech including GameTan, KidsCoin, Manurewa High Business Academy Makerspace, Mission Ready HQ, and Taiohi Whai Oranga Trust.
Pathwaying rangatahi into tech careers and tech enterprise not only curbs the adverse effects of automation – it accelerates economic prosperity for Māori and Pacific families by connecting creative and talented South Auckland rangatahi to lucrative local, national and international employment and enterprise opportunities.
Guided by a vision to equip rangatahi with educational and economic skills, KidsCoin Limited is providing programmes utilising technology to gain both educational and income equity.
With the continued COVID-19 pandemic, technology offers the opportunity for Māori and Pacific communities to develop educational and economic empowerment.
KidsCoin has developed a 3BF accelerator programme in South Auckland to try to heed the call of the community given the potential risk of COVID-19 re-emerging in communities. 3BF is an employment initiative that offers rangatahi technological skills which can be utilised in attaining employment.
"3BF is innovative because despite the pandemic of Covid, 3BF has shown that it has already offered educational and economic hope, as well as educational and economic support for even the most vulnerable members of our most marginalized communities,’’ says Brittany Teei, KidsCoin Founder. "3BF is unique because it reaches into all communities, through the provision of digital tools and creates coherent, personalized learning and career pathways for every participant."
Participants of 3BF will earn an income whilst learning about digital tools that can help them to reposition themselves in the job market or help to move their business ideas forwards.
"Our student employees are not only educating themselves in digital technology, finances and other academia, they are learning valuable life skills which they practice now through communication, self-management, resilience through problem-solving, creative thinking and mapping skills." says Annie Hawaikirangi, Assistant Programme Manager of KidsCoin.
Recognising that participants have whānau commitments and don’t just bring themselves to the learning or earning table, KidsCoin enables participants to work remotely and manage their own time, giving them the flexibility to not only meet their educational and employment needs whilst on the programme, but also factor in the needs of their whānau.
“The reason why I wanted to start a business with e-commerce is so that I can be an inspiration for others especially those of Pasifika background and show them that if I can do it so can they," says a KidsCoin student. "I also want to financially support my family so that my parents don’t have to work. I want to break the pre-existing stereotypes of islanders only being factory workers and be a testimony to show that we are capable of doing other things."
Described as “real world education through collaborative play”, GameTan proves learning can be fun and a highly engaging experiential process. With rangatahi learning more effectively when they have a genuine passion for the Kaupapa, GameTan explores how experiential skills can be harnessed and developed through collaborative play.
“Our world is rapidly changing; artificial intelligence and robots are gradually taking jobs our whānau traditionally pursue. So, our key focus is to nurture an interest, a desire of technology within our whānau to future proof our whānau to pursue careers in the tech world,” says GameTan Business Director Raynor Cocker.
“We do this by firstly, exposing our whānau to the latest technology, video games and software. Allow them free play, to tutu and tinker. Second step is to show our whānau what's behind the gaming: the use of technology and create awareness of why technology is important. Thirdly, we present and provide engaging presentations and hands on experience, all relative to our whānau... Simple yet effective.”
GameTan also guides rangatahi through learnings about eSports, live streaming, how to make games, coding, design and animation. All to inspire rangatahi into prosperous career pathways in science, tech, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM).
Taiohi Whai Oranga
Over the last 3 years Taiohi Whai Oranga based in Manurewa, has worked with rangatahi to spark interest in and connect them to new ways of learning through tech, co-design tools and maramataka.
As an outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trust collaborated with a group of 10 rangatahi and embarked on a journey to develop a tech tool for rangatahi and by rangatahi to help build resilience and align to the maramataka.
By December 2020, the concept of a resilience tool had evolved into a framework of a prototype for a tech accelerator programme for Kura and rumaki current and past students. Feedback and input from rangatahi highlighted their struggles with studies, access to tech tools (laptops, tablets, software), and worries about finding a job or having reliable and equitable employment.
The Māori in Tech Career Accelerator programme, co-led by Taiohi Whai Oranga and The Southern Initiative, offers a new future for learning, employment and enterprise. The model is highly connected, participatory, and challenge based, and offers a wrap-around digital tech career pathway for rangatahi to learn in-demand digital tech skills. The programme also guarantees each participant the confidence to start their own tech venture in employment with a tech partner company.
“The idea was proposed by one of our rangatahi in a chat group about being better prepared for the ‘real world with other skills like starting your own online business or using their Instagram skills for a real job’,” says Taiohi Whai Oranga CEO Chantelle Whaiapu.
‘’From this statement, 16 rangatahi came together with us, on zoom and in person to develop the idea further. As a group we collectively identified kura and rumaki we had relationships with and connection with and were willing to try a different approach to learning.’’
The aim is to grow the number of tauira and alumni from kura and rumaki choosing careers in the tech sector or developing and running their own organisations, enterprise or initiative.
“It’s ambitious but we aim in 3 - 5 years’ time to have a thriving rangatahi Māori digital/tech ecosystem in Tāmaki Makaurau, with our graduates training other rangatahi in kura and rumaki and being supported by Taiohi Whai Oranga, kura, rumaki, whānau, iwi and employers.’’