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Tech sheds spring up to train new recruits

The High Tech Youth (HTY) Network, which offers digital education studios and programmes around New Zealand and the Pacific, is adding tech sheds to its arsenal of training tools.

The network began 10 years ago and wants to add the sheds to provide opportunities for social enterprise, ideas, research and development, and commercialisation of ideas, products and services.

It also wants to connect members to industry and business networks and work with families and communities on high tech skills and enterprise development focused on the opportunities offered by tech.

“We first started with a bunch of ten and eleven year old children who have now grown up, many are now at university finishing degrees, however we also realised that a number of youth were ready to explore setting up their own digital business,” says CEO Mike Usmar. “So our goal now is to add tech sheds to all current and new HTY Studios across the region to promote new social and economic opportunities as a way of transforming under-served communities from the inside out.”

The sheds will have CNC cutters, laser cutters, fiber and copper cabling, wi-fi access points, 3D printers, routers, videoconferencing to connect with industry, an interactive display, robots, PCs and devices.

The concept draws on the ‘maker movement” that extends DIY culture through the use of technology, Usmar says. The network is also recruiting tech shed mentors to support youth with digital skills but also setting up their own digital businesses.

One of the sheds, Studio MPHS (McLaren Park and Henderson South Community Trust) officially launched this week.

It’s supported by US consul general Jim Donegan, who donated recyclable hardware for youth to pull apart and re-engineer.

“We’re proud to be associated with this project; educational models like this will produce the Sam Morgans of our future,” Donegan says. 

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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