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Vodafone: 100% population coverage in NZ with current terrestrial technology 'unlikely'

Sathya Mithra Ashok | July 25, 2014
Tony Baird, head of networks at Vodafone NZ paints a picture of how the provider's services could improve in the future, and the ways in which the company is working to improve telecommunications skill levels in NZ.

We hire from other Vodafone offices. There is an international mobility capability within Vodafone, so you can move. NZ is considered a good place to move to.

We have actually started and are putting together an apprentice programme where we hire school leavers and university leavers and train them up. My ultimate goal would be if we could see an apprentice that has come through from school go to one of the technology institutes.

We are working with one in Auckland to put together an IP course. Our apprentices will come out with a diploma in tech communications and one of them gets a scholarship to go to one of the universities for a further engineering course. So we would take somebody from school and see them go right through to being university qualified.

That is what we are working on actively.

We have reviewed the course and everything. There will be a diploma of telecommunications. They will get Cisco certified or Juniper certified. They will get highly paid skills at the end of it. They will be integrated into our workforce into a rotational apprenticeship and I would personally like to offer a scholarship to the university to the best one of those.

We already run an apprenticeship scheme and a graduate scheme within technology today. But this would be about taking them from school all the way through to graduation. This will help develop our organic skill sets in the country, which I enjoy doing. We hope to have that course up and running as soon as possible. The course will potentially be offered in Auckland. It is supposed to be national ultimately.

I think it is a going to be a combination of internal and organic growth, and also bringing people from overseas.

We have 30 going through the apprenticeship programme right now. Don't think we can absorb more than that. It is hard to absorb more than that because you need to mentor them with somebody, have to have a rotation programme, where they do three months in one department and then they move to another department. It is quite a bit of overhead on the existing staff to train and support these people.

The full apprentice programme, to get the qualification, takes around three years. We started the programme around 18 months back and we haven't finished a cycle yet. I would hope to keep all of them at the end of it. A lot of my experienced people go back to the older technologies, but newer people are completely native on developing apps and having new ideas.

Q: What are your network plans in the coming months?

 

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