An aspiration to have a career in IT, brought 27 girls from PNGHS and Freyberg together today for the annual Shadowtech event.
This is an important event on the annual calendar as women choosing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is still at very low levels. Only 3% of girls in New Zealand considering IT as a career, and women making up only 23% of those employed in IT occupations.
UCOL hosted founder Edwina Mistry as she opened the morning with remarks aimed to inspire these girls to make the most of the opportunities and choices ahead. "Today you have a chance to have conversations and to ask questions. After today, I encourage you to go out and find a role model or a mentor – these relationships will build the foundation for the future. Throughout your career you will have other mentors and role models as you progress and need more"
"We have 600 girls participating in Shadowtech this year, in 106 different locations – women have something very real to contribute to this field. IT is in every job, every industry and we want you to succeed and participate"
Female mentors from 8 local companies, then broke off in groups for the girls to get an upfront and hands-on experience, visiting places such as New Era, Fuijitsu, FMG, and NZTA amongst others.
Shadowtech bases its success on seeing an increase in the number of females who choose STEM related subjects at a secondary and tertiary level and ultimately choose a career in tech.
The Shadowtech experience provides girls in years 9 -11 with an opportunity to experience what working in the tech sector is like, by visiting this host organisation and spending a day with their mentor, encouraging them onto education pathways that lead into tech sector roles.
Sandra Cleland, UCOL Senior Lecturer & Programme Leader – Information & Communications Technology (ICT), drives UCOLs involvement in the programme through liaising with Shadowtech and finding mentors for the participants "This programme gives industry mentors the opportunity to influence the next generation of young women to pursue a career in technology. Their secondary school and UCOL are here to offer support and guidance so that we can help the participants choose the right study options to achieve their goals."
Special thanks to all the host organisations and mentors: BlockBit Solutions, FMG, Fujitsu, Massey University ITS, New Era IT, NZTA, Thomson Reuters, Horizons and UCOL.