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NZCS to Engage ICT Profession with Schools

NZCS to Engage ICT Profession with Schools

PRESS RELEASE – NZ Computer Society Inc. (NZCS)
22 September 2008
For Immediate Release

The New Zealand Computer Society (NZCS) today announced the establishment of a Working Group to create and pilot ICT-Connect, the NZCS Professionals in Schools Programme.

The Working Group, convened by ICT advocate and past Digital Strategy Programme Manager Janet Mazenier, will pilot the ICT-Connect programme, reinstating a very successful previous NZCS initiative which sees ICT professionals present to schools and students about the diversity and engaging nature of a career in ICT.

“It’s absolutely pivotal that we get the message through to kids when they’re still deciding on their future direction”, NZCS Chief Executive Paul Matthews said today. “Our profession is exciting, challenging, flexible and well paid, yet still there are many kids out there that don’t even know what ICT is. ICT suffers from an image problem, and it’s time we address this with the next generation once and for all” he said.

Working Group Convenor Janet Mazenier echoed these comments. “ICT professionals know how engaging and exciting ICT is, however we’ve got to get this message through to the next generation if we’re serious about dealing with the ICT skills shortage in the longer-term. This programme will act as an essential bridge between schools, school students, and the wider ICT community”, Mazenier said.

The pilot programme, dubbed ICT-Connect, will operate in up to three centres across New Zealand and alongside other related regional initiatives. The programme will coordinate small groups of passionate ICT professionals across these regions to “adopt a school”, help these schools and teachers by providing inspirational presentations about the true nature of ICT, and, where asked, assist teachers with course planning.

“One key objective of the programme is to provide teaching professionals with a more robust connection to the wider ICT community”, Matthews said today. “Our computing and ICT teachers do a phenomenally important job with little support, and it’s time for the wider ICT sector to engage, get involved, and help computing teachers make a difference” he said.

The NZCS is initiating the programme after many requests from Computing teachers around the country as well as ICT professionals really keen to help, and intends to launch the programme nationwide if the pilot is successful.

“A wider long-term objective is to help deal with the negative stereotypical perceptions of ICT, which is a major contributor to the ICT skills shortage” Matthews said.

“There are a lot of people throughout the sector having lots of meetings and doing a lot of talking about the skills shortage, however, yet again, NZCS are the ones getting on and actually doing something about it, through this and a huge range of other initiatives” Matthews concluded.

The Working Group will be made up of leading figures from the ICT industry, government and the education sector and the group members will be announced in early October.


About the NZ Computer Society

NZCS is the professional body of ICT professionals in New Zealand, and works with industry, academia, Government and the wider community to achieve its mission of increasing the standards and professionalism of the NZ ICT industry via a range of initiatives.

The Society’s membership includes a large number of ICT professionals, as well as corporate partnership with New Zealand’s leading organisations – both ICT companies and other organisations who are serious about the development of their ICT staff.


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