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New Pilot Encourages Digital Tech Pathways

NZTech is launching Tech21, a programme of activity and events in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to help inspire young ākonga (learners) into tech careers.

Graeme Muller, chief executive of NZTech, says recent research published in the digital skills report found a decreasing number of students taking courses that will prepare them for an opportunity to work in the many new and exciting tech careers within the burgeoning tech sector.

“The Tech21 initiative will help expose some of the many exciting opportunities available for the next generation in tech roles across the economy.

“The students will hear from young successful role models so that hopefully they will see themselves as a tech entrepreneur or working in a cool tech job when they leave school,” he says.

Tech21 will begin with a summit in Auckland on May 24 featuring high profile New Zealand tech leaders including Auckland’s digital disruptor, Augmented Reality Applications (ARA) founder Amber Taylor, social entrepreneur Shay Wright and @girlbossnz founder Alexia Hilbertidou.

Hilbertidou’s GirlBossNZ group has become Aotearoa’s largest organisation for young women. In just five years, GirlBoss has grown to 13,500 members and programmes have been implemented in more than 100 schools across New Zealand, Australia and the Cook Islands.

Alexia Hilbertidou with the Queen receiving her award

Its mission is to get young women to the tech boardroom table. Hilbertidou has spoken at some of the world's largest conferences such as the UN Commission on the Status of Women and One Young World; sharing stages with speakers such as Richard Branson, Meghan Markle and JK Rowling.

She has already received over 30 awards for her work including being named the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Award winner.

The Tech21 event will showcase tech innovation, creativity and the opportunities for technology career pathways leading into New Zealand’s fastest growing and highest paid sector.

Tech21 will focus on:

  • Why is digital tech so important?
  • What will the tech future be like?
  • How to understand why a tech career is right for a young person?
  • What is a tech career really like?
  • What career pathways are available?
  • Securing a great future with a tech career

The Tech21 summit will also launch the opening of Techweek2021, a weeklong nationwide festival of innovation.

“There is a real interest and passion within the tech sector to help students find pathways into the growing tech sector,” Muller says.

“The recent digital skills survey found that New Zealand’s tech leaders backed the creation of a digital apprenticeship programme.”

“This sort of scheme could open a door into a tech career for those that are less likely to do an IT degree.”

The survey found that there was strong support for internships to help students develop work experience and the skills that employers say are lacking in many graduates.

“There is a once in a generation opportunity here to find ways to encourage young people into a large variety of well paid, future proof jobs,” Muller says.

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