Amazon Web Services has recently celebrated the graduation of newly certified tech professionals from the AWS re/Start course in Aotearoa.
Taking place at the Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae at Unitec in Auckland on 25 August, the graduation celebrated the achievements of students who will now be entering crucial roles in the NZ technological sector.
The AWS re/Start initiative is a 12-week, entry-level cloud skills program launched in New Zealand in March 2021 and prepares unemployed, underemployed, and transitioning learners for crucial careers in cloud computing. The group from this cohort includes many students from Māori and Pasifika communities, with AWS collaborating with Te Paenga and Unitec to deliver the program locally.
Recent research found that cloud and cybersecurity skills are projected to be the top two most in-demand digital skills by Kiwi employers by 2025, yet the study found less than one-third of organisations have training plans in place. Meanwhile, 67% of Kiwi workers surveyed felt they would require training in cloud-related skills by 2025 to progress their careers.
Around the world, the AWS re/Start initiative connects more than 90% of graduates with job opportunities. In New Zealand, local companies and organisations across the public sector have signed up to provide internships and employment to graduating AWS re/Start students.
Auckland Council, Datacom, First Table, Foundry, KiwiRail, NEXTGEN Group, Planit Testing, Pushpay, Spark Business Group (Spark, CCL and Leaven), Vector, and WayBeyond, have all been named as locations offering opportunities.
There are also opportunities in the public sector, with students able to work with local collaborators like the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
Graduate Ash Foster (Waikato Tainui) earned a computer science degree and worked in construction for several years before retraining and becoming a web developer. He says it provides students flexible and critical opportunities for growth in the technology industry.
"I think the AWS program is probably the best thing that MSD has done in terms of a momentum-building program, and I immediately wanted to be part of it," he says.
"You have to be accountable for your own learning, as it is the nature of our industry to be learning all the time."
Ash now works in a specialised FinOps team at Datacom, having completed an internship there in 2021 as part of his AWS re/Start qualification.
AWS NZ country manager of public sector Tim Dacombe-Bird says the course is a great way to help fill crucial roles in the industry and create better opportunities for students.
"AWS re/Start is helping close New Zealand's skills gap by helping Kiwis to launch successful cloud careers, organisations to increase their competitive edge, and communities - especially Mori and Pasifika - to thrive and grow. We are proud to be working with Te Paenga and Unitec to build New Zealands cloud workforce of the future and enable organisations to accelerate their innovation with AWS."
AWS re/Start is a global program across 50 countries and is part of what Amazon says is its commitment to providing free public cloud computing skills training to 29 million people around the world by 2025.