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Enspiral dev academy continues bid to diversify IT

The Enspiral Dev Academy is launching a loan programme it hopes will broaden the demographics of those who make up the Kiwi IT scene.

The nine week programme is designed to prepare students to make the leap into developer roles and has the backing of several Wellington tech companies.

Enspiral says on its website the academy is built on the idea that many have the talent to become programmers but only a fraction of them actively pursue an IT career.

“A lot of the pain our companies feel when looking for talent comes down to the simple fact that our pipeline for training developers hasn’t been able to keep up with the demand,” says teaching lead Joshua Vial.

“Additionally the IT workforce suffers from an acute lack of diversity and which is a big deal since the vast majority of potentially great programmers aren’t young white men. If our education system can only meet the needs of a small subsection of our society then we will never be able to mobilise the talent we need.”

The loans are a way to break down the barriers to people joining the industry, it says. Enspiral has set up a Women in Tech fund of $12,500 for two places in the scheme, while ADInstruments is funding the same amount for two students from Dunedin to take part.

Powershop is contributing a $1500 scholarship for the first 10 students to study Ruby on Rails at the academy.

The loan programme is flexible, Enspiral says, with funders choosing to support specific demographic or geographic groups and Enspiral helping students find the right loan or scholarship.

Preparation for the first cohort of 20 is already underway, with the official start in May. The academy will take place at a new innovation hub in Wellington’s CBD, Enspiral’s new home.

Grow Wellington gave Enspiral $10,000 seed funding for the academy.

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Amanda Sachtleben is an Auckland writer and social media type, who's also Idealog's former tech editor and business journalist.

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