TechNZ – the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology business investment programme – will pay US$16 an hour per ICT intern to companies that have agreed to supervise the students. The companies are free to top up that hourly wage rate if they wish. 'This is an exciting scheme as it matches university students with ICT companies around the country,' says Eileen Basher, the TechNZ business investment director. 'This means students will have a wide variety of large and small firms to work for in centers of their choice. The students will get a summer holiday job that will give them real practical experience in their chosen field.'
The internships will be provided under TechNZ's capability funding programme, which supports the development of New Zealand's upcoming young scientists and researchers by enabling them to gain and develop their technical skills. Approximately 150 ICT companies have agreed to take part and range from some of New Zealand's biggest – Tait Electronics and Orion Healthcare – down to smaller firms with three or four staff. 'The main requirement is that the company must have a suitable project for the student to undertake and have a person to supervise the student,' Basher said. TechNZ is also partnering with four regional organisations to deliver the programme, ensuring strong links with local economic development agencies, ICT institutes and universities with strong business linkages.