HR and People

Heather Chambers, Employer Engagement manager at Summer of Tech

From dreaming of being a backup dancer for Madonna to helping the next generation find their dream jobs in tech, Heather Chamber, Employment Engagement Manager at Summer of Tech has found a space where she feels deeply connected to.

We caught up with Heather to learn more about her career journey leading to working in the tech ecosystem, what gets her excited about the work she does and what a typical day in her life looks like. Thanks for sharing your story, Heather.

Firstly, how would you explain to a five-year-old what you do day-to-day?

I support employers to hire interns and graduates into tech roles.

And for the adults, what does that translate to?

Onboarding new employers and supporting them through their hiring journey, which runs mostly online via our amazing home-grown platform.

Employers can search our pool of amazing candidates for specific skills and we promote their job listings to our ‘work ready’ student community. We offer some additional events such as online Meet & Greets, Speed Interviews and anonymised candidate profiles to reduce bias in the hiring process.

“My childhood dream job was to be a backup dancer for Madonna!”

Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?

My childhood dream job was to be a backup dancer for Madonna! Picture leg warmers, jazz shoes and teased-up hair. I was always curious about how things worked and my mum would find me with a screwdriver in-hand pulling various things apart to see how they worked, including door handles…

What are some of the most interesting challenges that you face in your role currently?

Right now, we’re focussed on streamlining our systems and processes so that we can continue to provide students and employers with a great recruitment experience as we grow. That means automating manual, low-value tasks so that our team can focus their efforts where it matters - helping students and graduates land their dream jobs.

“I had no idea what I was doing but quickly learned a lot!”

Tell us a little bit more about your career pathway and ultimately how you got into your current role at Summer of Tech? This would be a quick highlights reel of some of your key experiences.

  • I loved Computer Studies at school, then I did work experience in the Computer Services department at a steel mill and decided to study Computer Science.
  • My work experience led to an ongoing role during uni vacations.
  • After graduation I landed a role as a Business Analyst at a startup telco. I had no idea what I was doing but quickly learned a lot!
  • Moved to London and worked as a Systems/Business Analyst for brands like London Electricity, British Telecom and O2 Mobile.
  • Returned home to New Zealand.
  • Worked in Business Analysis, Product and Change Management roles.
  • Now I’m an Employment Engagement Manager with Summer of Tech.

I was inspired to work with Summer of Tech to help create opportunities for the next generation of tech talent. I know from my own journey how important early career opportunities are.

I’m so fortunate that I get to work with the kindest, most supportive and talented team, all working towards our vision of a strong, inclusive NZ tech sector, with plenty of high-quality internships and graduate roles for people starting their tech career.

What do you love about working in tech and why others might consider a similar path?

What I love about technology is that it is constantly evolving and enabling new and better ways of solving everyday problems. I love that I can do my grocery shopping, have a doctor's appointment and refill prescriptions without leaving the house. Technology frees up time so we can spend it doing more valuable things. I’m excited to see what the future brings.

“It’s so surprising to me that some employers are reluctant to hire junior talent.”

Lastly, how can others in the tech community of Aotearoa support what you are driving?

It’s so surprising to me that some employers are reluctant to hire junior talent. This lack of opportunities for fresh graduates is contributing to the skills shortage in the Aotearoa tech community.

According to the Digital Tech Skills and Talent Plan there is a misperception that it’s too hard, expensive and time-consuming to hire interns and graduates. Whereas feedback from employers who hire through us is overwhelmingly positive and we have an on-hire rate of 80%. That means most of our interns are offered ongoing work by their employer.

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