This year, 39 Wellington East Girls’ pupils were taken on a trip to Silicon Valley and Seattle in the United States to see what the ICT sector is like and to encourage them to consider ICT as a future career.
On the trip the group visited Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Dreamworks, Boeing and Adobe. They received high level information and tours and were able to talk to the employees over lunch to get a sense of what the jobs and industry involves.
Cris Roughton, Wellington East Girls, head of digital technologies and computing, says, “There’s been a high level of excitement since we’ve returned and that has had a huge impact on engagement."
"You can give students the means to pursue a career in ICT but first they must actually want to go down that pathway. The trip was successful in showing our girls how dynamic the industry is, and how varied,” she says.
Connaire McKeefry is a year 12 student who went on the trip. McKeefry says she was planning on studying law or commerce, but following her time in the US, she has decided to pursue a career in ICT.
Arthur Graves, Ministry of Education Youth Guarantee, group manager, says, “A trip like this one means that students can immediately connect with an industry or sector and this is likely to inspire them to direct their study toward a certain career.”
“When students study subjects in areas which as relevant and interesting to them, then they are much more likely to stay at school and secure the qualifications they need for the future,” he says.
Currently, there is a high demand for IT experts in New Zealand and a lack of experienced individuals who can fill the positions.
Intergen, the information technology and development design company, helped to sponsor the college’s Silicon Valley trip to encourage students into the industry.
Emma Barrett, Intergen New Zealand, director of solutions and services, says, “We are taking on 15 graduates next year and would increase that if we could get more with the right skills. I’m currently approving new roles and at least 50% of those we are bringing in from overseas”
Barrett says, “We need to build a self-sustaining work base that supports an industry set for untold growth.”