Jobs Report (Quick update)

If you doubt whether there is work when you graduate, Seek today (Jun 2020) has 27 ICT jobs advertised in Central Wellington in the IT junior pay range of up to $60k a year. There are 49 ICT jobs in Central Wellington in the junior pay range of up to $70k a year.

When it comes to applying for roles, keep in mind that you are enrolled at the top tier tertiary institution in Wellington. You will be looked on favourably in part because ECS Graduates have a very good reputation and in part because the people you are competing against have an education experience ranging from nothing (self taught), 3 months, one year and two years. Your education sets you up well to impress in the workplace over both the short and long term. Otherwise in a field of 4,000 registered IT students, why did well over half of SoT's (Summer 2019) 229 Wellington internships go to ECS students? (Also see SoT report Summer 2018).

Don't rely on efforts to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt; your education and choice of where you study matters. It is far more difficult to claim that ECS students are employed more often, by random chance.

Meetups are starting up again. These represent your best opportunity to talk to people one-on-one doing the work you ultimately want to do. Take advantage, they are keen to see new tech people regardless of whether they are 20 year veterans or students.

Happy to chat

Matt Stevens
Work Experience Coordinator
Jun 2020

Covid-19 Impacts on the Availability of Professional Work Experience

The Covid-19 virus and associated worldwide lockdown is widely expected to result in a global recession. This means it may be reasonable to assume that the impact on many Engineering businesses may be both uncertain and negative.

The Council of Engineering Deans have raised this with Engineering NZ (ENZ), the accreditation body for the Bachelor of Engineering.

ENZ after consideration have given universities discretion to reduce the requirement of 800 hours of work experience, to 400 hours of Engineering work for students that will complete their studies before December 2021. In 18 months they will review whether to extend this period.

What does this mean?

This in effect will benefit third and fourth year students that expect to complete studies before December 2021.

The 400 hours must be 'professional work' within the IT industry. This is defined as "working within an IT Engineering team, exposed to team practices, applying your degree, solving engineering problems, under the hands on guidance and mentoring of experienced industry professionals."

Unrelated to the ENZ decision but highly relevant, remote working with NZ based IT teams as a consequence of Covid-19 and lockdowns, will also be accepted.

Advice for Second Year BE students

Do not rely on ENZ extending the period for the reduced requirements. They view this very much as a temporary measure due to extraordinary circumstances.

Aim to find summer work within the IT industry and recall that we accept other work for your first 400 hours in order to practise the transferable soft skills that are vital in an IT workplace.

Mature students can ask for pre-existing work to be recognised for the first 400 hours (a report is still required).

Register for Summer of Tech and when Industry Events start up again (watch MeetUp.com) start attending events of interest to build up your network in industry. In a recession, knowing people can give you a significant employment advantage.

Advice for Third & Fourth Year students

We do not know all the edge cases yet and we will be figuring this out as we go. If you think you might represent an edge case, get in touch with your WE Coordinator.

Edge cases.

Q. What if I need to complete one last paper in 2022?
A. Under the ENZ directive, you will need to complete the full 800 hours of work experience. Your WE Coordinator will work with you individually to find a smooth path for meeting the second 400 hour requirement.

As always, happy to chat

Matt Stevens
Work Experience Coordinator
Apr 2020


Transition from work experience courses to a single multi-year program

The case for using the traditional course structure for the ECS Work Experience Program has diminished. As a consequence we are moving to a multi-year program that will be recognised once on your transcript. If you have enrolled in the old courses, you will still receive passes for those as you complete their requirements.

The requirements themselves are not changing, just the way the program is structured. Expect an app to be rolled out over the next few months for beta testing.

A quick summary.

  • Still free - yes
  • Still zero points - yes
  • Still requires 800 hours of work experience - yes
  • 400 of those hours needs to be in an IT workplace, applying your degree under direct industry supervision - yes
  • The anticipated time commitment is still under 10 hours a year - yes

The reports, networking, writing an effective CV and the H&S workshop, all remain part of the program.

Changes have been slow to implement. In part because Academics are concerned that students (you) will put off the work experience requirements until the fourth year, possibly thinking that the last year of study will be much easier than the first three. The counter-argument is that we are training Engineers that can manage their time, their commitments and anticipate future needs. Plus students (you) are motivated to meet and engage with future industry employers.

The program is (always has been) designed to increase the likelihood of you as a student finding employment before you graduate. It works and it works well enough that we lose students to industry before they complete their BE. See this LinkedIn blog for a discussion around that.

As the saying goes, we can lead you to water (future employers), but we cannot make you fish (talk to future employers). If you choose to leave it all until the last minute, as adults that is your choice. But take into account that the program works precisely because it gets you talking and engaging with people in a position to offer you work once you graduate. Ultimately if you don't wish to talk with anyone in the IT Industry, are you sure you are doing the right degree?

If you doubt whether there is work when you graduate, Seek today (Mar 2020) has 52 ICT jobs advertised in Central Wellington in the IT junior pay range of up to $60k a year. There are 80 ICT jobs in Central Wellington in the junior pay range of up to $70k a year.

I hope you like the move to the new system, happy to chat.

Matt Stevens
Work Experience Coordinator
Mar 2020