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The team behind business support forum has today announced The Digital Doers Academy to help job seekers in Aotearoa build their digital capability.

The Digital Doers Academy pilot programme, funded by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), aims to offset the negative impact of COVID19 by training participants to become digital and social media advisors – who can then support themselves and the business community as independent contractors or employees. Co-founder Pat Macfie (Ngāti Māhanga-Hourua, Ngāi Te Rangi), said his team created Digital Doers in response to the nationwide cry for digital help from businesses following the COVID19 lockdown.

“In 2021 every business needs a digital doer. This programme is a way for people who may have been displaced from work, to go from job seeker to making a real impact in helping Kiwi businesses – in a few short months.”

“So long as you have the fundamentals of digital understanding and the willingness to learn, Digital Doers can help you to put your best foot forward in a digital role.”

“This is a chance to get some independence and self-determination back. And, with your new capability, be at the heart of the changing environment for businesses in Aotearoa.”

Starting in 2021, the twenty-week programme consists of twelve weeks of online learning,  followed by an eight-week business internship alongside leading Kiwi innovators.

While the programme has the scaling potential to be available to a large group of job seekers, the pilot, running from March, will offer 25 places to Kiwis from diverse backgrounds who are already receiving MSD benefits, or are disadvantaged in the job market.

“Digital media creates endless opportunities. If we can pass on our mātauranga in this area especially to members of our Māori and Pasifika community who are struggling, the world could be their oyster.”

“We hope the Digital Doers Academy sends a message of hope and opportunity – and ultimately transforms lives. We can’t wait to get started. Let’s go.”

“The MSD Industry Partnership team is excited to partner with to bring the Digital Doers Academy pilot to fruition. MSD is committed to creating new forward-thinking pathways to employment for all New Zealand job seekers, and that fits well with the opportunities available through The Digital Doers Academy pilot,” says Amanda Nicolle, Director Industry Partnerships MSD.

Each module will have a video-based lesson, quizzes, a live webinar with an industry expert, and exercises that will be assessed by the programme manager and submitted for peer review.

Local or remote internships will take place in small businesses that may be part of the Manaaki and Chooice ecosystem. Interns will likely be exposed to multiple projects, and each will receive and provide constructive feedback and guidance throughout the internship.

Interested clients and jobseekers can find out more information and apply at and through their local Work and Income Service Centre.

The crew behind the Academy

The team is led by relentless innovator, Pat MacFie, who lives with a Te Ao Māori world view. With a deep sense of purpose, Pat is known for his tenacious ability to take an idea and create a force for change, over and over again.
He has built and managed teams, leading the design and implementation of digital innovation for global brands including Xero.

Pat works alongside Co-Founders Jada MacFie (Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Ngāti Māhanga-Hourua, Ngāti Pāoa, Ngāti Kauwhata), Andy Hamilton: formerly of The Icehouse and a former small business advisor to Minister Stuart Nash, Samoan Kiwi legend Monty Betham, and Pasifika Social Entrepreneur Sarah Colcord. Together they lead a growing team of 35 at innovation agency Indigo – the powerhouse behind lockdown-built platforms and Chooice. The Digital Doers Academy will be led by Rachel Adams who has been part of the leadership team at Soda for the last ten years.

About Manaaki is an online platform that supports small Kiwi business owners through the challenges and opportunities of owning a business. Since it launched in March 2020, over 300,000 Kiwis have interacted with content on the platform, or received answers to their questions from Kiwi business experts.

About Chooice is an online platform for Kiwi business owners to sell their products. It grew out of the NZ Made Products Facebook page (now called Chooice), which is now NZ’s biggest FB page with more than 540,000 members. So far, the Chooice website has helped hardworking Kiwi business owners make over $1,000,000.