The TechWomen programme ShadowTech won the engaging youth in ICT gong at the annual New Zealand CIO awards in Auckland last night.
The initiative run by TechWomen, part of the NZTech community, provides years 9 to 11 schoolgirls an opportunity to experience what working in a tech job is like, encouraging them onto education pathways that lead into tech related roles. Only 23 percent of New Zealand females work in tech, the fastest growing sector in New Zealand.
TechWomen executive director Edwina Mistry says the programme connects girls with women working in hi-tech jobs, who act as mentors. Secondary school students get to spend a day with the woman in tech, experiencing a day in the life of a hi-tech professional.
“We want to see an increase in the number of females who choose science, technology, engineering and mathematics related subjects at a secondary and tertiary level and ultimately choose a career in tech,” Mistry says.
“ShadowTech Day makes girls realise that there are a lot more different opportunities for tech jobs than they imagined.
“Only three precent of 15-year-old New Zealand girls consider a career in tech which has the highest paid and highest qualified employees. In 2017, 36 percent of computer science and information technology students were female, and eight percent were Maori.
“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 careers.”
This year, more than 600 girls, 100 companies and 250 mentors participated in the programe and TechWomen plans to increase it next year by going to the smaller regions in New Zealand and encouraging more Maori and Pasifika participation.
Mistry was the first woman to work in the tech sector in Bahrain and now helps Kiwi women break down barriers. ShadowTech days have been held in Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Palmerston North and Hamilton, and Dunedin will have its day on June 26.
For further information contact Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 20175 030188
Photo: Ken Lord (Juniper Networks), Edwina Mistry (TechWomen), Nick Elias (NZTech), Jackie Clark (NZTech).
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