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Ara’s July Emerge Event Attracts A Wealth Of Attendees

The Ara Business Technology Department held the first of its bi-annual ‘Emerge’ exhibitions on Wednesday July 7, at the Kahukura building on the Madras Street campus.

The evening event is designed to celebrate the completion of the recent group of Bachelor of ICT and Business Information Systems students’ industry projects, and is also the ideal way for new graduates to mingle with top industry figures and showcase their skills to a range of future employers. The work of senior ICT TechCoLab and Cybersecurity students who have been involved in work-integrated learning projects which prioritise providing technology to communities was also profiled at the event.

The Exhibitions, which began in 2018, feature IT industry speakers, refreshments and oral presentations of the student’s work, in addition to the student poster exhibition, and has now become an established and well-recognised ICT event within the sector; one where many technology sector partners can gather to meet newly-minted professional talent and explore future tech collaborative initiatives.

This particular occasion drew over 130 guests, including more than 20 of Ara’s industry partners, representatives from key regional and national IT professional bodies such as the Institute of IT Professionals NZ and Canterbury Tech.

The exhibition was opened by Ara's deputy director of Māori achievement, Hemi Hoskins, followed by a brief introduction from Ara’s Head of Business and Digital Technologies Nigel Young. Keynote speaker Charlotte Walshe, CEO of Jade software company, spoke of the growth of roles and possibilities for women within the tech sector; a key concern for the Department at Ara, who are involved in a number of initiatives to keep breaking down the barriers to female participation within the sector.

"Our focus remains constant on providing more access to the booming tech sector for women, meeting the needs of our region in the tech sector, and improving outcomes for Māori in tech careers" says Ara Enterprise and Digital Innovation Head of Department Nigel Young.

Dr David Weir, from the Bachelor of Information and Communication Technologies (BICT) degree programme and lead for the department’s Work Integrated Learning programme, then introduced the presentation of the capstone project students’ projects.

From the Degree’s Software Development pathway, Chiron Evans and Cindy Wang received the evenings top honours, jointly being recognised as the top ICT Capstone Students. Cindy was also noted for her poster, along with Joshua Devereux and James Kegley, with all receiving "Highly Commended Poster Awards."

Nigel adds "The scope of the ICT program is such that students can connect with major global brands, influential local companies such as Jade and our own network of tech start-ups that are flourishing in Te Ōhaka. This is the key to the success of so many of our graduates - the real-world learning that they gain, which lets them move from a typical learning environment smoothly into long-term employment."

Department plans for next year include the continued development and expansion of the Tech Co-Lab social enterprise and of the Institute’s current cybersecurity offerings. Nigel and his team are also working towards the creation of microcredential pathways for learners, and and further integration with the work place through internships, cadetships and mentorships.

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