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More than 100 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 will 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 and hosted by WelTec which is one of the largest IT providers in the country, has seen Wellington companies rush to offer opportunities to girls participating in the day.
Jen Rutherford NZTech Director has organised the event. “We are thrilled with the response. Around 35 companies will host 110 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.
“Girls need to choose STEM subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths related subjects at secondary school to do well in the ICT industry. By allowing them to experience the opportunities in ICT our hope is that they will continue on with these subjects at secondary school.
“ICT is a huge area of growth. It is the fastest changing sector and has the most job opportunities. There is a significant shortage of people with the rights skills and qualifications to work in this industry. The ShadowTech day is all about promoting ICT to secondary school girls especially as only 23% of the IT workforce are female in New Zealand,” says Jen Rutherford.
One of the participating companies in ShadowTech is Trade Me and with large numbers of ICT jobs listed on their website for roles around the country it’s clear skills shortages are at an all-time high.
Trade Me’s Payments Sales Manager Ginny Ryder says, “We’ve been working hard on promoting diversity at Trade Me and ensuring that we get a diverse range of candidates for any role we advertise. We’re aware that the tech industry has long held some gender stereotypes and we need to get more women into the industry. ShadowTech Day is a fantastic opportunity to show the amazing opportunities a career in tech can offer.
“On the day we will be pairing 15 students up with 15 female mentors. The girls will be involved in very diverse activities from database infrastructure, to coding and designing systems and seeing how account managers and marketers use IT. There are a really broad range of roles within our business and this is a great opportunity for the girls to observe real life roles with an experienced female mentor,” says Ms Ryder.
IBM is another company providing mentoring for ShadowTech Day, “Diversity of thought is so important in business today. At IBM, we have a strong focus on making our workplace inclusive for women and achieving greater representation of women in technical and professional roles,” says Rachael Millman, IBM Service Manager and recent graduate. “That’s why IBM proudly supports and participates in programmes like ShadowTech that encourage young women to consider STEM careers.”