The Renewable Funding technology team is moving into some new office space in a few months, and now that we’ll have our own space, I’d like to start up a variation on an apprenticeship program at work. I’m still in the early stages of designing this, and I want to gather some input from the community before deciding how we might run the program.

My goals for this program are as follows:

  • Contribute back to the local and global software development communities by providing mentoring, a place to work, and stewardship of one or more open-source projects.

  • Provide a safe, open, fun environment for people of all backgrounds to improve their skill in a non-competitive, supportive learning environment.

  • Increase local knowledge about Renewable Funding’s software development team, so that when we post job openings, you all know who we are.

  • Identify local developers who—while they may not have a lot of experience—have a lot of talent and passion, so that we know who to talk to when we have appropriate positions open up.

Here’s what I’m thinking as a starting point, please let me know what might not work, and what might work better:

  • Recruit a group of between 2 and 6 local developers who are interested in participating in the program for N months. (What is an appropriate time period?)

  • The group gets together at our office one evening per week for the duration of the term. (Thursdays from 4pm-8pm? Is once per week the right frequency?)

  • At least one senior developer from my team will be at each session to coach and mentor the team. Renewable Funding will pay for dinner and/or snacks.

  • The group will decide on an open source project to work on. It could be a new creation or contributions to an existing project.

  • The group will work on project following an agile methodology similar to what we employ during our daily work at Renewable Funding.

  • We may be able to open our office to participants during regular work hours to provide a space to work and access to individual mentoring.

So, is this a good idea? Would anyone be interested in this? Am I overlooking some obvious and potentially disastrous outcome?