Wellington social entrepreneurship co-working space Enspiral has brought a US developer bootcamp concept to New Zealand and has an innovation hub in the works as the venture's new home.
The Enspiral Dev Academy is based on the Dev Bootcamp, an intensive nine-week apprenticeship designed to prepare students to jump straight into developer jobs. Xero, Powershop, Telecom, Carnival Labs and Trade Me are among the Kiwi companies on board with the search for new tech talent.
"Tech talent is short on the ground wherever you go and New Zealand isn't insulated from that at all," says co-founder Rohan Wakefield.
"We sat with a whole lot of developers and we were noticing there was a lot of disconnect between recruiters and developers. When we got out into the market we found the problem wasn't really with recruiters; there was no talent. We sat down with some of the companies like Trade Me and Powershop and asked if they'd be interested in growing our own talent here."
Enspiral has spent the last year developing the partnership with Dev Bootcamp and a small portion of its revenue will go to the US organisation in exchange for a curriculum and online learning management system.
The academy will offer Ruby on Rails and .Net streams, with teaching leads Joshua Vial and Craig Ambrose specialising in Ruby on Rails.
It wants to recruit at least two .Net specialists, says Wakefield. Preparation for the first cohort of 20 begins next February, with the official start in May at the new innovation hub.
Wakefield says Enspiral needed a new home after outgrowing its current space on Allen St. The new hub is an empty warehouse in Wellington's CBD and Enspiral is working with Grow Wellington and Wellington City Council to see how it can serve the region as a whole, says Wakefield.
"We want it to attract international IP and talent to New Zealand and be a hive of activity for young people to get excited about what we do.
"We want to excite our young people about tech. The Dev Academy and the innovation hub will do that."
Grow Wellington gave Enspiral $10,000 seed funding for the academy and it's seeking council funding for scholarships. A place at the academy costs $11,000.
Women and people from ethnic groups under-represented in the software engineering field qualify for scholarships.