QA Success Story: Qual IT Graduate Programme

Qual IT launches innovative new graduate programme to combat tech skills shortage

New Zealand owned and operated IT quality assurance company Qual IT has a proud history of supporting and investing in people and the IT industry, and is excited to welcome six new full-time employees with the launch of their inaugural graduate programme.

A recent report from IT Professionals New Zealand/Te Pou Hangarau Ngaio and NZTech on behalf of the New Zealand Government is described as a sector wake-up call, citing an over-reliance on immigration and lack of investment in developing domestic talent as resulting in a significant mismatch in skill supply and demand. Prior to the border closure more than 50 per cent of new IT jobs were filled via immigration. 

Qual IT has found a pro-active, long-term solution to this problem by investing in upskilling and training people locally.

“IT is an area with exceptional employment outcomes and Qual IT’s grad programme is a great opportunity for people who wish to enter this industry,” says Qual IT’s Head of Practice & Capability, Jill Thorburn.

“We offer our graduates all the benefits of full-time employment throughout the 14-week training programme. The trainees aren’t all recent graduates, some have worked in other areas but decided they want to pursue a career in software testing.”

The first intake of graduates has just completed foundation training, a four week course of classroom-based learning at Qual IT, followed by two weeks of further technical training and they have now embarked on an eight week learning placement on a client assignment. This learning placement is fully supported by Qual IT.

“We are very grateful to Transpower, the New Zealand Police, Waka Kotahi, the Ministry for Primary Industries, and the Central Region Technical Advisory Services for supporting our programme by allowing our graduates to gain real-life work experience in their businesses alongside our experts,” says Jill.

An established relationship with Wellington vocational education provider Whitireia and WelTec and their IT training programme has also paid dividends for both Qual IT and the polytechnic. Professional analysts from Qual IT have lent their expertise as guest lecturers at Whitireia and WelTec, and they have provided useful advice that helped develop Qual IT’s graduate programme.

Dalvir Singh is a Whitireia graduate grateful to be among the inaugural group of employees embarking on the graduate programme at Qual IT.

“It really is a privilege to be able to transition straight into the industry like this,” says Dalvir. “The job security is so reassuring. My studies were great, but this is the real thing now and I’m learning so much with all the benefits of full-time employment.”

Covid-19 restrictions have meant that new employees like Dalvir haven’t been able to come into the office much, but Qual IT’s training manager adapted to alert level changes, and training modules for the programme have been carried out online allowing the new employees to still get a taste of the office culture.

“I really love the environment and the way staff are managed,” says Dalvir. “Even the most senior staff feel like friends which gives me so much confidence. It’s like one big family.”

Dalvir is currently working on test techniques and studying small business requirements, and he hopes to be dealing with his first client engagement in coming weeks. He encourages other aspiring testers to apply for future Qual IT graduate programmes.

“It is a great programme and I’m sure there are going to be a lot of candidates in the future. Qual IT gives you all the tools and support you need to become a great tester.”

Mary-Claire Proctor, Head of School for IT and Business at Whitireia and WelTec, is pleased to see the graduate programme providing pathways to employment for students. 

“Creating positive ākonga and employer outcomes by collaborating with industry is a key objective of Whitireia and WelTec, and this is a great example,” says Mary-Claire.

After the success of the inaugural programme, Jill is looking forward to running the graduate programme again next year in Wellington, and is already planning to launch another graduate programme at their Auckland office. 

Qual IT believes that the graduate programme will build more depth and longevity into the Quality Assurance industry by choosing to invest in local talent to meet the skills shortages facing this sector rather than waiting for the borders to re-open.


Image: Connor Peirce, Dalvir Singh, Jesse Morton, Melita Joshua, Romina Mautone, Vrajesh Choksi.