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Future ICT Careers Explored in The Capital

More than 120 secondary school girls have jumped at the opportunity to spend a day shadowing IT experts in Wellington at some of the Capital city’s well-known companies. For one day the girls get to experience all aspects of ICT from programming to design and to see first-hand technology of all kinds inside a business.

The event, organised by the New Zealand Technology Industry Association (NZTech) and hosted by WelTec, one of the largest IT tertiary education providers in the country, has seen Wellington companies rush to offer opportunities to girls participating in the day.

Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Jacqui Dean opened the formalities addressing the audience on the importance of taking STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects at secondary school.

Keynote speaker Ross Young from Google said, "Diversity is essential for business success. It drives insight and value into a business, so it’s great to support Shadowtech day in New Zealand."

Eva Sherwood New Zealand Community leader for Oracle’s Women Leadership program, NZTech Board member and keynote speaker said, "You need to have a purpose. I’m not saying you need to decide what you want to be when you grow up, just set yourself goals, small or large. The counterbalance to having a purpose is to always be open to opportunity. These are the things that come out of left field, the things that aren’t on the plan. These will be your career breaks that lead into areas that you never even knew existed. So I invite you today to think about purpose and having goals, and also embrace this awesome opportunity you have here today, you never know what may come of it."

One of the participating companies in Shadowtech Day is ICT company Intergen who hosted two secondary school girls for Shadowtech Day. Intergen CEO Simon Bright says, "Shadowtech is a real highlight for us as an organisation and we’re delighted to have hosted girls across all our offices this year.

"It is fantastic for us to be able to play a part in showing the next generation of women IT professionals what a career in IT is like by matching them with some of our own very talented women who are at the early stages in their ICT careers. It’s a great way to bring to life just how exciting and diverse a career in ICT really is, and how applicable it is as a career option for women and men alike."

Andrea Hancox from NZTech says, "Women make up only 23% of those employed in IT occupations and only 3% of 15 year old NZ girls are considering a career in computing professions.

"Shadowtech Day’s primary objective is to encourage young women to take up NCEA studies that will allow them to progress into careers in the tech sector.

"Around thirty companies are hosting 120 girls for the day. NZTech and many of Wellington’s leading companies have taken up the challenge to do more to promote the opportunities in ICT to young women. Helping secondary school students make informed decisions about their future careers and putting in front of them the opportunities in the tech sector is our priority," says Andrea Hancox.

Chalinor Baliug ICT lecturer at WelTec says, "There are so many great opportunities for young women in the ICT sector. At WelTec we specialise in providing applied hands-on learning for our students so when they enter industry they have ICT skills employers are looking for which means they hit the ground running on day one."


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