One of the most common challenges I hear from other digital and technology sector companies is the shortage of skilled talent for their enterprise, we have a sector which is evolving rapidly in both techniques (agile and dev/ops for instance) and in a new constantly evolving continuum technology wise (cloud, AWS, security the list is extensive). I have attended 3 local events in the last week where talent and access to skilled resource were top of mind for all.

One approach to the talent shortage is the Dev Academy, in short it’s is an intensive 9 week programme with 2 streams – ruby and .Net – designed to churn out work ready developers, from their website:

Enspiral Dev Academy is an intensive, hands-on, full time course in software development. From day one, you’ll dig in and start coding. It’s the best way to learn. Over the course of our nine week boot camp you’ll get the skills to be a confident, employable developer.

Intensive, hands-on learning is a great way to cross skill and retrain existing team members who already understand your product, service and value proposition have a work ethic, have evolved problem solving skills and work practise processes etc etc but  and are in need of new technology skills or techniques to keep up with current market demands. In this rapidly evolving market there are few courses offered either instructor led or online that really meet the demand and then those often teach technology features not “how to do the job”. Dev Academy tries to breach the technology features and how to be a useful worker gap – but is focused at new to the workforce workers, a luxury many small to medium businesses cannot afford to accommodate due to the mentoring overhead required.

So this notion coupled with a conversation I had with the fabulous Lisa Collins from Swaytech in Auckland last week led to the following idea. Looking for feedback here – would it work? would you participate as a company? am I nuts?

Solving the Talent challenge – an idea!

What if a collection of companies in a city eg: Wellington worked together on a barter system to provide intense, hands-on, full-time training via a secondment basis. Secondments could be for days or weeks depending on the project, skillset required, experience of the person and makeup of the team the individual is seconded into.

There would need to be a level playing field created and a few rules such as no poaching, no competing, no using seconded people as just a free resource without providing a learning experience, consistency of commitment (leading to consistency of experience) – I am sure there are more but you get the gist. There would also need to be a mentoring framework which is another fabulous skillset for our teams to learn, the art of sharing and mentoring others.

Imagine the benefits! not only would your team members get to experience working in a different environment, with different people, different customers and expand their horizon’s in a social and professional context but they would get to learn a new technique or a new skillset.

I see no real downside, this would mean we as businesses can leverage our existing investment in our existing teams via cross and upskilling those individuals which would in turn lead to opportunities for us to all invest in additional graduates and new employees through growth and enhanced mentoring capability.

Next question is why limit this to tech sector, why not other sectors take a collaborative approach?

This all stems from my perspective that “NZ Inc needs a cohesive export led digital and technology sector so lets create it” via working collaboratively to launch our products and services on a global scale. So working together to address one of our major hurdles seems like a good idea to me. How about you? Happy sharing, Vic.