Tech Apprentice Program

Victoria has some incredibly talented youth who are highly technically skilled with large ambition.  As a teacher at the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry (PSII), I personally know some of them.  They are doing incredible work through mentorships with VIATeC and Limbic Media; developing, creating and iterating projects that have potential commercial applications.  Truly, they are learning the direct skills needed for the tech industry in Victoria: engineering know-how, content knowledge, critical thinking and problem solving all the while creating things of value for the world.

Keeping top talent must be a priority.  If even one of these future apprentices strikes it big with an idea and goes onto create hundreds of jobs, I truly hope that they do it here in our backyard. In 2014, 884 tech companies in Victoria brought in 3.15 billion in annual revenue (see VIATeC report). According to Linkedin, these were the hottest 25 skills that got your hired in 2014.  Notice the tech jobs.  I see a very bright future for Victoria’s tech sector.  The number one thing that we need to ensure is that we attract and retain the top talent.

Things are evolving rapidly, and the knowledge that computer programming students learn in first year is obsolete by their fourth year. These students don’t necessarily need university, rather, they need an apprenticeship; directly learning hands on daily, evolving with the industry in real time.

For example, one of my students is a dedicated programmer – it is his passion and it is what he wants to do with his life.  He has already been programming for years, and he definitely knows what he is doing – especially when he practices 6-7 hours everyday.  He is already working in a startup team using Agile Engineering to design, make and implement a product for the real world.  You can see it here.  He still has 2 more years of high school where he will continue to code everyday for real-world projects.  He will have 6 years of experience and practice. In my estimation, he does not need to do 4 more years of undergrad work.  He is good to go.

What he does need though is an opportunity to break into the industry.  He needs to be mentored one-on-one with a local entrepreneur to get the skills necessay to be savvy enough to run his own show.  He needs to learn to pursue life-long learning which includes a mixture of both theory and practice that make him industrious and scrappy.  He needs to be working in a startup to really know what is going on and form strong interpersonal relationships and connections in the community. He needs to learn strong work ethic in a vibrant setting using the very best practices on hand.  He needs to take important people out to lunch and ask them questions on a weekly basis.

We need to make this happen.  There is an example.  It is working.  In fact, they are expanding. I have found no one else who is doing this but them.  They are called Enstitute and are operating in New York, Washington, DC, St. Louis and Miami.  Take a good look and ask them questions.  I have found them to be delightful and open.  Take a look at what their apprentices are saying here.

We need this for Victoria.  Are we a truly innovative city or what?  Tech is our largest industry – why do we not have this kind of system in place yet?  It is doable – requiring only an incredibly talented impresario to connect the pieces.

I would love to do this.  Currently, all of my energy is being funneled into starting up PSII and changing the school system.  It is so exciting!  It hasn’t been changed in 150 years and it looks like we will be the first to do so.  Wow! I just do not have the time required for the initial set up.  But I would love to help you in anyway possible.

On behalf of the tech sector of Victoria, I call on an impresario to step into the fray and lead this initiative.  You already have one super loyal follower.

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