Fusion Networks, led by MD Andrew Gurr, brings the same problem-solving attitude to building a pipeline for tech talent as it does to solving client issues. Faced with a dire shortage of employees with the skills required for its ever-growing business, Andrew and the team at Fusion have disrupted traditional IT education and skills training, with a blended learning and working programme.
“Two years on, the results are exciting. They provide an evidence-based model for schools and industry to work in partnership to deliver a blended Edutech framework. We’ve succeeded in disrupting traditional IT education and skills training, and we are helping to drive high value and meaningful innovations into the education to employment pathway.”
“The framework is centred around curriculum delivery of NCEA credits. More critically the model seeks to increase the number of engaged Tech learners whilst assisting teachers in the delivery of more complex Tech courses they would not have been capable of supporting. The industry benefits over time from a relevant talent pipeline, and local communities from skilled workers in higher performing careers.” Fusion MD Andrew Gurr.
Already the team at Fusion has worked extensively with Tamaki College to set up the IT Academy and Intern Programme, expanding on opportunities begun with Tamaki College’s adoption of Manaiakalani digital learning programme that focuses on creating opportunities for 21st century education.
Now Fusion’s first new Digital Curriculum NCEA course is ready to go for 2019, after 12 months of planning and building. It provides an introduction to programming using scratch and mBot robots. The innovative program includes over 4 hours of detailed tuition that steps learners through the basics of programming. The course combines two papers, delivering 10 NCEA assessment based credits.
This approach is being tested to see if more technical subjects can be learnt in school without the need for teachers to be experts in these fields, if successful it will open up almost any technical subject to any school and student. Supporting the course will be expert mentors, with a goal of developing more project focused assessment challenges. Fusion ultimately aims to link these skills together into project focused learning challenges for year groups.
Andrew Gurr: “The Fusion Academy sets the foundations for academic and skills-based learning for career development aligned to IT workforce readiness. The IT Academy is the first step in ensuring students are on a pathway to employment, starting with curriculum built around NCEA papers but learning and assessment based on real-world problems co-delivered in partnership with secondary schools.”
A group of students and Fusion staff will be testing the new digital course over the summer holidays.
Leeroy Pohatu walks the talk of what a robust EduTech framework can look like, from being a tech student at Tamaki College, to Fusion Networks Tech Intern now Uni Student.
“It was a tough choice to go to University because I knew I wouldn’t be able to work at Fusion, but I wanted to try Uni and challenge myself, do the degree in Computer Science and then go back to Fusion. Fusion gave me my first job, put me on my career pathway. I want to work for them.” – Leeroy Pohatu
All of this work was the backdrop for a Workshop in Auckland: Innovation through Education and Industry Partnerships.
Participants debated what a high-quality, transformative education system could look like in New Zealand.
The Ministry of Education brought the diverse team around the desks at host Tamaki College, tasked with imagining and driving a scalable pilot for enlightened learning for the future, with the tech sector the first subject for focus.
Participants in the workshop brought different perspectives to the table; whether Tamaki College staff and students, Fusion’s team, Interns already in the Fusion programme and their Fusion mentors, and education experts from the Ministry.