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IT event aims to inspire young women

An Auckland high school is pushing for more girls to think about a career in IT.

About 150 Year 8 girls will be attending the “IT” Girls Day@lbc to hear from key female industry role models including Anne Taylor from Microsoft, Masha Mohaghegh (founder She #, AUT), Heidi Newton (Code Avengers), Jackie Clark (NZTech), Amelia Bone (Navico), Dr Catherine Watson from The University of Auckland, Alexia Hilbertidou (GirlBoss), Alice Gatland from OMGTech and Amanda Jordan from Google. There will also be various workshops throughout the day covering topics including Project Management, Robotics, Augmented Reality, Web Development, Digital Media and Interface Design. There will also be a HoloLens presentation.

“There are not enough graduates to fill all the IT posts currently advertised,” says Michelle Gallagher, Head of Digital Technologies, Long Bay College. “I believe it is important that we have a diversity of perspectives when designing new technologies. If girls are not at the table when the technology is being designed and created, then who is it being designed for?”

ICT is a huge area of growth with many job opportunities, yet there is a significant shortage of women in the tech industry. Only 20% of the IT workforce are female in New Zealand with the rights skills and qualifications to work in this industry.

Technology now plays a part in all aspects of everyday life and there are many opportunities to get involved in the industry. The “IT” Girls Day@lbc event aims to showgirls that computer science is an important part of their future, and that it can be a foundation to pursue their passions, no matter what field they want to enter.

Telecommunications giant Spark have also got involved with the event.

“We believe Spark has a big part to play in creating a better New Zealand. Our community initiatives are targeted around education - as we seek to ensure all young New Zealanders have the opportunity to unleash their potential and thrive in a digital economy future,” says Amber Fitton, Channel Planning and Reporting Specialist at Spark New Zealand.

“We want New Zealand kids to share our passion for technology to help shape their thinking about the jobs of tomorrow.”

IT services provider Parallo is providing morning tea for the girls and has donated several prizes.

“Whilst one of our Senior Managers is a female working in IT, we find it very difficult to find more”, says Mr Symon Thurlow, Executive Director, Managed Operations, Parallo. “Whenever we recruit, we get 99% males responding. We appreciate the benefits that gender diversity brings, and are delighted to encourage in a very small way, more females in tech.”

“IT” Girls Day@lbc takes place from 9am-12.30pm on Monday 3 July in the Long Bay College Auditorium, Ashley Avenue, Long Bay. For more information, please contact Michelle Gallagher, Head of Digital Technologies, Long Bay College on (09)4779009 ext. 868, email mgallagher@lbc.school.nz

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