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Tech Student Speed Networking Event

In today's rapidly evolving tech landscape, the demand for skilled professionals in the tech sector is higher than ever. As one of the fastest growing tech regions in the country, its critical that we are building and retaining tech talent in the Waikato. To support this, Te Waka hosted a high-energy and impactful Tech Student Speed Networking event as part of Techweek 2023.

With an exceptional turnout of 65 students, this sold-out event created a vibrant platform that connected 14 local businesses with aspiring technology students and recent graduates. Over the course of two hours, the students had the opportunity to speed-interview with local employers and hear from industry speakers to inspire and support them on their journeys from education to employment.

To ensure the success of the event, students were given the opportunity to engage in preparation workshops led by Te Waka and Soda Inc, offering support to prepare their CV and a short 'pitch' to be used during the networking sessions. The event provided a safe and enjoyable environment for students to practice their interviewing skills and gain confidence in their abilities.

By interacting with industry leaders and professionals, students had the opportunity to gain exposure to the wide range of innovative technology businesses thriving in the Waikato region. When asked in our post-event survey about how the event changed their knowledge of tech businesses in the Waikato, feedback included:

  • “It definitely has increased my confidence and awareness of companies.”
  • “I didn’t realise how many companies were available so that definitely opened my eyes on the opportunities close by.”
  • “I've learned about how even the smallest technology impacts the lives of people in a big way.”

One of the key objectives of the event was to provide a platform for local businesses to recruit local talent for various projects, part-time positions, and full-time employment. Businesses who participated in this event gained visibility within the tech student community, showcasing their expertise, services, and projects. The businesses were generally impressed with the talent they met with during the event, sharing the following feedback about what they enjoyed most:

  • “Great chance to help out a few students learn interview skills etc, we found some good candidates.”
  • “The enthusiasm and experience of the students. Particularly the students with prior work experience.”
  • “Meeting the variety of students - a real mixture of capabilities and communication skills with some awesome potential candidates that we will be keeping in touch with.”

The participating businesses were looking to recruit entry level talent into a range of roles, including software development, IT support, testing, data science, network engineering, and web development. By engaging with students and recent graduates, businesses could identify individuals who possessed the necessary skills and passion to fill their organisation’s current job openings. The event ensured that businesses had access to a diverse pool of motivated individuals, with businesses rating the likelihood of providing a work opportunity to a student they met at the event highly at 72%.

Through this event, businesses had the chance to raise their profile, recruit local talent, and contribute to the growth of the local technology ecosystem. Simultaneously, students and graduates gained valuable industry insights, honed their interviewing skills, and explored potential work experience and job opportunities. By fostering meaningful connections between businesses and students, the event exemplified the power of collaboration in nurturing the future of technology in the Waikato region. With an average event satisfaction rating of 4.6 out of 5 (92%), Te Waka is looking forward to partnering with industry to host more events like this in the future.

Thank you to the businesses who participated in this event: Company-X, CTEK, EC8, Enform, Fonterra, Gallagher, HCL Tech, IT partnersLIC, Lightwire, Netvalue, OLT Limited, Rocketspark, and Virscient. We are also grateful for the support from our partners in the Tertiary Tech Alliance (The University of Waikato, Wintec, Toi Ohomai and The Ministry of Education), Connected, FLINT (Future Leaders in Tech), Soda Inc, and The Ministry of Social Development.

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