The ShadowTech youth development programme has been selected as a finalist for the Engaging Youth in ICT award; part of the 2018 CIO Awards for New Zealand.
ShadowTech is an annual technology career experience day for girls in years 9-11, who meet in their regional centres to hear from local tech leaders and are then hosted by women working in the technology sector to experience ‘a day in the life’ of a tech sector career.
The initiative is supported by NZTech’s community TechWomen, which engages women working in technology to share their experiences, inspiring the next generation of girls to consider studying IT.
What sets ShadowTech apart from other youth development programmes is the wide range of roles and industries that are showcased; breaking down preconceived ideas about tech sector careers.
Students who have participated in ShadowTech commented they had believed IT was just for men, but after attending ShadowTech they realised many women held interesting and influential roles in the sector.
The variety of different roles in a wide range of industries, which are accessed through skills in technology, was also an eye-opener for many ShadowTech attendees.
The programme runs in six regional centres nationwide. In 2018 it’s expected over 600 students will attend, many from low decile schools with a high percentage of Maori and Pacific Island students, who are currently under-represented in the technology sector.
In 2017, 36% of computer science and information technology students were female, and 8% were Maori. Encouraging gender and cultural diversity was an “absolute key” to bridging the current gap between supply and demand in the IT sector, according to a Govt-backed report published in 2017.
The CIO Awards winners for 2018, including the Engaging Youth in ICT award, will be announced at the CIO Summit Dinner on 13th June at the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre.