I met with approximately 500 students in 2023. I’m familiar with many faces and names, I’ve called on a few students to support our events and others to join me in focus groups to validate ideas. I know your stories; some originate here in Aotearoa and others from beautiful distant lands. Some started university right out of high school and others went through a career change and returned to study. Some have the support of family, while others are tracking a lonely journey with no family nearby at all. Some stories are smooth sailing and some tell me you’ve had tough life experiences. Learning about one’s history is just as important as knowing a person’s current life status and understanding their future goals. It’s the formula and making of great trusting relationships! I love a good story and everyone has one. Today, let me share with you ours; about Taitamariki Potentia.

For the past decade, Taitamariki Potentia has partnered with universities, offering scholarships and sponsoring clubs like the Developers Society, the Data Science Club, and the Web Development Consulting Club. Despite the efforts of guiding students into Aotearoa's tech sector, three recurring issues persist: student employability, keeping coursework up-to-date in what is a rapidly-changing environment, and graduates feeling overlooked by recruiters/organisations. This led to a major challenge: bridging the gap between university and employment.

To address this, we went about things a little differently, investing in student communities and empowering them to break into Aotearoa's tech sector. The result? Our award-winning Taitamariki Potentia community, led by a student committee and chaired by our University of Auckland Potentia Scholar with the strong support of our Director Abinesh Krishan and patron Kim Gordon from Ara Digital. Officially launched in 2020, it’s grown to over 500 students, offering events like World Cafes, mental health workshops, generational experiments, and debates. From coaching/mentoring, hackathons and office space, to a recently commissioned project that involves creating a standalone Taitamariki Potentia platform, the community has already come so far – winning two industry awards and making a genuine impact.

Since joining Potentia last year to lead our student/graduate initiatives, we’ve been working on ways to evolve the Taitamariki Potentia community beyond a ‘student support network’, to proactively placing students and graduates into internships and entry level tech roles. Part of this involves a new service offering focused on the graduate market, as well as continuing our partnership with impact enterprise, Rea. Watch this space…

“O lupe se vao ese’ese ae ua fuifui fa’atasi” this is a Samoan proverb signifying that “we come from different forests but connect with one cause and purpose”. Our histories may look different but we have the same intent to build our futures in tech and make an impact. This is who we are, and why we do what we do…this is our story!