Southern region manager Scott Miller says CPP's graduate job offer provides students the end-game support other tertiary providers lack.
IT school promises jobs within three months after graduation
This article was originally published in the Sunday Star Times June 25, 2017. Written by Press reporter Adele Redmond.
Jason Pope decided to retrain this April after two years teaching English in South Korea.
"I did a commerce and arts degree, but I found it lacked fundamental IT skills that were in demand," the 27-year-old technical support student said.
"I saw Computer Power Plus, and I thought I would get a lot out of it. They're so sure about what they offer that they're willing to say they will guarantee you a job when some other places might be sceptical."
The IT training school is offering a first for New Zealand tertiary providers: a job in the industry within three months of graduation or your course fees paid back in full, guaranteed.
It sounds like a clever marketing ploy, but the school's managers say it's an earnest promise to ensure quality education and reduce student loan debt through employment.
The offer is only available to domestic students, and the organisation's per-student funding is capped at about 500.
Some online schools in the US have similar schemes but Computer Power Plus (CPP) general manager Jay Bocock got the idea from a student survey.
"They said they have a reasonable student loan and they want a job at the end of it. It showed we need to be serious about our courses being industry-aligned," he said.
"Traditionally 84 per cent of our students get jobs – we thought we would put our money where our mouth is."
Christchurch campus manager Scott Miller said the "low-risk" offer, launched this month, has already attracted students through word-of-mouth.
He said CPP can't compete with high-profile neighbour Ara Institute of Canterbury but the graduate job offer, close ties with industry, and plans to expand its pseudo-company TechCafe to Christchurch next year, provided a point of difference.
"We've heard of people who have studied at other providers, and it's like, 'see you later, don't let the door hit you on the way out.' That's where the engagement ends.
"In our perfect vision students are studying for five hours in the morning, working for five hours in the afternoon and paying off the loan while they're studying."
About 28,000 tech companies employed nearly 100,000 Kiwis, 5 per cent of our workforce, last year, according to IT Professionals New Zealand.
Salaries range from $40,000 for entry-level IT jobs to six-figure paychecks for business analysts and project managers. The average salary for an IT professional was $91,569 in 2016.
And yet there aren't enough graduates to meet the demand for software engineers and networking specialists.
"What the IT industry really needs and is looking for is the soft skills. When do you call the client? When do you escalate it [an issue] to someone else?" CPP southern region business development manager Reg Blackwood said.
"I get told by people when they get a graduate it can take anything from three to nine months to make them useful. Our aim is to reduce the amount of time [that] takes."
Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand (ITENZ) chair Christine Clark congratulated CPP on its "brave" scheme, noting external evaluations would keep the organisation honest.
"I don't think you could do this at those low level 1, 2, 3 courses. When you have Level 5 and up, you have students who are more committed.
"It's a great marketing tool and great outcome for students. I'm thinking more providers should be looking at this."
- Sunday Star Times
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Guaranteed Job offer has been updated for 2018 with new courses, study duration and terms and conditions.