Article | Supporting diversity in an IT workplace

Supporting diversity in an IT workplace

In 2021, our CEO Michelle Harvey was concerned by the general lack of diversity being seen in applicants for software development roles. Sure, there were some great young people coming through the system, but there was an obvious lack of representation from important parts of our society.

We have programmes in place to support the career growth of a diverse team, but attracting a full range of diversity into the sector seemed to be problematic.

We see the benefit to our company culture and love that we have a team from across many different backgrounds. The benefit of having a broad representation of society contributing to the design of technology that all New Zealanders use, is also well understood at Abletech.

One deeply under-represented group, sector wide, is Maori and Pasifika. So how could we do better and be part of the solution?

Then someone suggested she look into TupuToa, whose mission is to “grow Maori and Pacific leaders for a greater Aotearoa”. After meeting with the TupuToa team and being inspired by their vision, Abletech signed up as a partner. A few months later, Jet Paese came on board as a summer intern on the development team.

Jet joined Abletech at a very exciting time. In fact he started the very same day the company was awarded a hugely important piece of work; the COVID-19 contact tracing form | Ministry of Health NZ. Delivering this incredibly important project required a huge effort from the whole Abletech team which meant Jet could be involved in a real project from day one. In fact he was demonstrating his work to the Ministry of Health in his first month!

Jet was able to contribute meaningfully while receiving great support from the Abletech team and his navigator, Sofara Aiono, from TupuToa. It was great having Jet’s youthful enthusiasm on the team and he enjoyed his time with Abletech so much that when offered a permanent position, he said yes! We caught up with Jet to learn more about his internship experience.

What has Abletech’s support meant to you and your confidence as you embark on your engineering career?

The support here has made me feel really comfortable from day one. I've never felt like an outsider and that meant I could start working towards my potential from day one

What advice would you give others pursuing IT internships through Abletech or other companies?

Just go for it. It's an opportunity you should never pass up. You will feel nervous but whether you chose Abletech or another software development company, there will be lovely people waiting there to welcome you

What makes you excited to be working at Abletech?

Being around like minded people with the same passions and the ability to continuously learn and grow during my time here, however long that will be

What has been a highlight of your time here?

It was really good to be able to work across both companies, Abletech and (sister company) AddressFinder as it gave me a grasp of how the whole organisation is run

Abletech was so pleased with the TupuToa partnership that we have committed to providing internship opportunities again this year as part of a wider programme of work supporting diversity and inclusion in our workplace.

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