Students are being encouraged to consider the many benefits of a career in IT, especially girls who may not have considered the technology industry as an option.
This week, ICT careers were promoted to students at a Year 10 assembly at Christchurch Girls High School, hosted by the Institute of IT Professionals (IITP) and attended by the Information Technology and Communications Minister Amy Adams.
The event was part of the successful ICT-Connect school outreach programme that promotes IT as a career to students, and encourages them to make subject choices that align with tertiary qualifications in the tech field.
Industry leaders estimate there is currently a shortage of 10 000 IT professionals in New Zealand, with that rate predicted to grow in the coming years.
“The ICT-Connect programme has been working hard to expose students to the real benefits of a career in IT, the variety of roles that can be found in the industry and the huge opportunities in IT compared to all other professions,” comments Paul Matthews, IITP CEO.
“We’re still facing a huge shortage of people with the right skills in our field and the opportunities are huge. This programme is helping bridge that gap.”
“While the programme promotes ICT as a career option to all students, a particular focus is girls aged 14-16 to ensure that their perception of IT doesn’t become clouded by myths such as IT being a career for boys only, or that you have to be a super coding genius to make it in IT,” says Joy Cottle, Operations Manager at the IITP.
“There are many non-technical roles available in our industry and we want to see more women in both technical and non technical roles in the future.”
The ICT-Connect programme, now in its third year, motivates students to consider a career in IT by putting local IT professionals into schools to introduce the many different roles found in IT, and sharing stories of their personal journey into the industry.
In 2013 the ICT-Connect programme was delivered to over 30 000 secondary students throughout New Zealand, and is on target to reach up to 50 000 students this year.
Funding and support for the programme is from over 40 of the leading technology and non-tech companies in New Zealand, including including Datacom, Orion Health, Potentia, ASB Bank and many others, as well as tertiary institutions such as the University of Otago, University of Auckland, Southern Institute of Technology and AUT.