Open Source Academy

The Academy is a Catalyst initiative designed to provide training and work experience for young New Zealand technologists. We run the two-week Open Source Academy in January each year and a three-day Arduino Academy in the July holidays.


"[My student] was so excited about her work at the Catalyst Open Source Academy over the holidays... you've opened her eyes to new possibilities."Wellington IT teacher

The Catalyst Open Source Academy gives secondary school students a taste of real open source development through a combination of classroom sessions and hands-on project work. The aim is to get Academy students quickly to the point where they can contribute to an open source project. For example, previous Academy participants wrote unit tests for the Koha project, contributing to the overall quality of the popular open source library management system. Academy students get a choice of projects to contribute to. Amongst them are Drupal, Koha, Mahara, Piwik, and SilverStripe.
Open source acadamy

The Open Source Academy has been running annually in January since 2011. By organising and funding the Academy, Catalyst aims to show young technologists how to participate in open source communities and to fully explore their passion for IT through freely available open source tools.

We hope to attract more talented New Zealanders into the IT profession generally, and particularly to meet the growing demand for open source technology across the public and private sectors, both here in New Zealand and internationally.

Additionally, we are running shorter courses throughout the year focused on other parts of technology. This started with our first Arduino Academy held in July 2013, which continues to be a popular event.

2016 Arduino Academy

We have opened the applications to the 2016 Arduino Academy for the 11th, 12th and 13th of July.

Aimed at senior secondary school students, the Catalyst Arduino Academy is 3 days of learning about the Arduino (, the open-source electronics platform.  We hope we can inspire the students to continue to further develop their new found knowledge on their own, or at their schools, once they have finished the Academy.

Our Arduino Academy starts the first day working through a basic experimenter's kit to get an understanding of circuits and basic Arduino programming.  Day Two and Three are spent working through combining various components to create an interactive project.

If you, or someone you know, are interested and in Year 11, 12 or 13 at Secondary School and can be in Wellington for the Academy on the 11th, 12th and 13th of July, head to for the online application.  Registrations close on the 26th of June for the 8 places we have available.

More about the Academy


"Five years Catalyst Open Source Academy", Catalyst Blog from 13 February 2015

"Catalyst Open Source Academy 2015: It's a wrap!", Catalyst News from 23 January 2015

"Fifth Open Source Academy", Catalyst News from 8 January 2015

The Catalyst Open Source Academy is the winner of the New Zealand Open Source Award 2014 in the category of "Open Source in Education"

"Students choose code over summer", Catalyst News from 29 January 2014

"School's in for summer", Interface Magazine, Issue 45, February 2013

"Forget the beach, let's learn about coding", Interface Magazine, Issue 37, February 2012

The Catalyst Open Source Academy was discussed in "New technology with Sarah Putt" in Nine to Noon Radio NZ on 26 January 2012 (at minute 14:20)

"School's in for open source advocates", Computerworld, 10 January 2011

Media statement announcing launch of the Academy, December 2010 [PDF 82 KB]