Over 45 students had the opportunity to shadow a staff member at a number of technology businesses in Hamilton last Thursday as part of ShadowTech Day an initiative that connects secondary school students with an opportunity to spend a day with an IT professional. Girls in years 9 - 11 learn about what it is like to work in the technology sector and gain insights into a wide range of careers with the support of mentor organisations. The programme, which runs nationwide at different times of the year, aims to encourage more female students onto education pathways in STEM areas.
The day kicked off with guest speaker Louise Hutt, a Mentor at local tech incubator Imagimation School, providing a who's who of women in technology from past decades and sharing stories of her own path to her current position as CEO at For Our Good, a social enterprise funding model for electricity.
After a mexican wave the girls were then matched with representatives from mentor organisations who hosted the girls for the day providing an opportunity to learn more about the business, roles within the business and what careers in the tech world really look like. The girls were introduced to members of the team and to technologies that they may otherwise not have access to.
The students were asked to complete a survey after their visit and here is a snapshot of what they said.
"My experience today has opened my eyes up into what my possible future in the tech industry could be and I loved it!"
The best thing about working in tech would be "the logical nature and excitement of finding new things"
"I enjoyed all the activities, especially the VR and learning about effective networking"
"It was a very unique experience."
The worst thing about working in tech would be "coding gone wrong"
"It was interesting to see how many different jobs are available"
We had representatives from fourteen local technology and technology enabled businesses sign up as mentors for the day and they all had positive feedback as well as some thoughts on how we could work with them and other businesses to provide an even more valuable opportunity for students in the future.
"It's not something we have done here before and it was a great opportunity for us to look at how we might be viewed by a younger demographic"
"Thanks for the opportunity to participate - it was great and we enjoyed it"
“ShadowTech Day gave us the unique opportunity to connect with young women and share our journey into the tech sector, in a way we wish we had when we were their age. In fact, this programme inspired some of our Dad’s to bring in their own daughters to join the experience."
ShadowTech Waikato is delivered by CultivateIT in collaboration with Wintec and with support from NZ Tech. The collaboration enables students to benefit from the connections CultivateIT can bring from the local technology community together with the strength of Wintec's tertiary secondary partnerships and the benefits of being part of a nationwide event coordinated by NZ Tech.