An innovative program that trains inmates to become web developers is helping them get a foothold in some of New Zealand’s largest IT companies. Charity Take2 was founded three years ago with the aim of breaking the crime cycle by providing jobs in tech.
Founder and CEO Cameron Smith tells CIO New Zealand that while recruiting, he became aware of how difficult it was for people with beliefs to even apply for a position.
“People have made a mistake, they have served their time in our justice system, but we as a society intervene and effectively give them a life sentence, no matter what their crime was.”
When Smith went to work for a venture capital fund, he was exposed to the growth of technology companies and the shortage of technical talent, which led to the idea of training inmates in much-needed skills.
“The tech industry just seemed like a no-brainer and something I really wanted to do given my life experience, my values and where I could see the most impact, so that’s what led to Take2,” Smith says.
Over 12 months he worked with the prison service, IT industry and financiers to get his vision off the ground and explored other similar programs in the US and UK.