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Christchurch: The city & its graduates undergoing tech transformation

20 Aug 2018

If there’s one city in New Zealand that has been in a constant state of transformation, Christchurch stands out – and it’s shaping graduates’ lives in the process.

As the new generation of talent joins the central city workforce at a time when Christchurch is shaping its new identity, it’s bringing plenty of opportunity for graduates.

Orbica location data specialist Will Jones is one of those graduates. He says that coming into the workforce when the city is coming together is cool – and it’s influencing who he is today.

“For the last seven years, we haven’t really had the city there, so it’s pretty cool seeing it come together when I’m working in town and being a part of that.”

Jones completed a postgraduate diploma in geographic information systems (GIS) from the University of Canterbury, and quickly joined local geospatial firm Orbica at the start of this year.

Orbica is located in Christchurch’s Innovation Precinct. It is surrounded by co-working spaces including Greenhouse, BizDojo, Epic, and the Ministry of Awesome – all of which make up a creative and connected tech sector.

“There’s definitely quite a vibe going on in the Innovation Precinct. There are lots of events every week - lots more going on than I can attend, if that gives you an idea,” Jones says.

He believes that working in Christchurch also gives people the chance to connect and collaborate with the city’s tech, business, and geospatial communities.

“I’m getting to know people in the industry, because last year I didn’t really know anyone and now I know quite a few people from different companies and universities," he continues.

Jones was part of a team that made the finalists of the NZ Space Challenge as part of Techweek’18.

But it’s not just Techweek’18 that lights up the city: The Ministry of Awesome holds regular Coffee & Jam sessions, bringing together the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Canterbury Tech Cluster also run monthly events which bring together the best and brightest of the city's tech community.

Jones says that he was able to get an internship at Orbica thanks to the strong connections between the city’s tertiary sector and the business community. That internship eventually led to fulltime employment.

“I really like living here because outside of work I can go skiing and biking, play football or go surfing - all those good things. That’s the benefit Christchurch has for me,” Jones concludes.

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