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Orion Health launches Codeworx to nurture future creators

Orion Health launches Codeworx to nurture New Zealand's future creators and
innovators of software

The perception of Computer Science in schools and the resulting lack of IT
graduates have left local companies such as Orion Health with a chronic
shortage of talent. Addressing this shortage requires a shift in the way
computer science is positioned in schools - moving away from teaching our
kiwi students to use technology to becoming creators and innovators of IT.

The advent of the Digital Technologies curriculum is a good start however,
industry leaders such as Ian McCrae from Orion Health, are taking matters
into their own hands.

Ian McCrae says "New Zealand is a country of innovation with great pioneers
such as Richard Pearse, Ernest Rutherford, William Pickering, John Britten
and others. Digital Technology is the new frontier and we want more great NZ
innovation here in our country."

Orion Health today launches Codeworx - an initiative that aims to change the
perception of Computer Science in schools and build a pool of talent so
desperately needed in the industry.

Codeworx gathers industry experts, teachers and secondary school students in
an online community forum where tools and incentives are provided to help
encourage kiwi students to take a subject they would have previously passed
on.

Kick-starting the Codeworx initiative is the 2013 Codeworx Challenge.
Running from late March until the end of September, the Codeworx Challenge
is open to every secondary school student in New Zealand and offers great
prizes and incentives, including an internship at Orion Health as well as
spot prizes throughout the period.

The competition requires entrants (either as individuals or in teams of up
to four) to come up with an innovative programming solution using a
Raspberry Pi computer. Riding the tsunami of interest generated by this
credit card sized computer, the Codeworx Challenge will ensure students have
fun while developing their digital knowledge and skills.

A panel of industry experts will be pulled together to judge the competition
submissions and the overall winners will be announced by the end of term
three.

Orion Health is providing 100 Raspberry Pi computers to a number of New
Zealand schools and is partnering with others in industry committed to the
education and development of our future innovators. HP has given a
commitment of a further 100 Raspberry Pi, and spokesman Alex Bouma says :"
HP is really pleased to be able to support Codeworx. We feel it's essential
to encourage kids into technology careers if the ICT industry in NZ is to
meet its potential over the coming years."

Ian McCrae says, "we want to show students that coding is fun. Coding is
the platform that teaches interactive computer science, sparks interest and
enthusiasm and extends the boundaries. We believe if more students are
bitten by the coding bug, then they will ultimately become the engine room
of a revitalised NZ economy and Codeworx is an enabler for this."

ends

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