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Mentoring IT For Girls

Otago Polytechnic will become ‘tech heaven’ for a group of 40 girls from around Dunedin next week with a new “ShadowTech Day”.

The day, run by NZ Tech and hosted in Dunedin for the first time, will see the girls paired up with female mentors in the industry. They’ll spend the day with their mentor, learning about tech and how it’s used in the real world. They’ll then return to Otago Polytechnic to hear inspiring speeches by Heidi Renata from Innov8hq and Otago Polytechnic IT guru, Ange Meikle.

The group coming from St Hilda’s Collegiate School are thrilled with the opportunity. Bella Devereux, Year 10, says it’s great timing.

“Soon, we have to choose what to study for next year. So, if we’re interested in the tech we learn at ShadowTech, we can take that as a subject.”

Lesley Smith, Head of College of Enterprise and Development at Otago Polytechnic, says the aim of the day is to encourage more girls to take science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects at school. By doing so, they’re keeping the opportunity open for a career in technology.

“Our mentors are all successful women in the tech sector. This is an excellent opportunity for these girls to really experience what a career in the industry can look like.”

The IT industry is the third most valuable sector in the New Zealand economy. Women make up more than 50% of the population, yet less than 15% of the IT industry. Research shows that women have plenty of ability for IT, but are locked into a stereotype that IT is for boys.

Lesley Smith hopes that ShadowTech can help put an end to that stereotype.

Event: ShadowTech – Inspiring girls into tech

Who: 30 high school girls from around Dunedin.

When: Tuesday 20 June

8:30am at Otago Polytechnic to meet mentors

9am mentors depart with students

2:30 students return to Otago Polytechnic

2:45 Guest speakers: Heidi Renata and Ange Meikle in G106

3:30 Finish

Where: Otago Polytechnic Hub (and various businesses around Dunedin)


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