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Let’s hear IT for the girls

01 May 2007

A joint programme between Women in Technology (WIT) and Accelerating Auckland got off to a promising start with 66 students from Auckland Girls’ Grammar attending an ICT workshop day. Go Girl – Go IT is designed to open Year 12 and 13 female students’ eyes to the career opportunities available in ICT, ranging from game development, programming, product marketing and website design. Microsoft, Vodafone and HP – all key sponsors of the initiative - opened their doors to the students who were accompanied by a group of ICT female role models that included staff from Sandfield, Shift, Hyro and IBM. Cheryl Horo, WIT general manager, says the goal was to showcase some of the awesome career opportunities in the industry and dispel the geeky perception of IT.“With the role models talking to the girls about their jobs and career this certainly opened their eyes and interest to the opportunities available in the ICT industry,” she says.Horo was delighted with the outcome of the day and says a second day has already been scheduled for Auckland and is in discussions about a day in Wellington. Judith Speight, director of programmes for Accelerating Auckland, says the group of people behind Go Girl is passionate about promoting careers in ICT.“It’s about getting young women to think an IT career might be a possibility,” she says. The highlight, says Speight, was asking two girls if the day had made any impression on them.“Both of them had planned to enroll in a tourism and hospitality course but after talking with the role models they’d both decided they wanted to be game developers. For me, that was a defining moment.”Ana Dzartevska, software developer at Sandfield Associates, says she wishes this sort of programme had been around when she was choosing her career path. “As the role models came from different parts of the industry the girls got to see that you don’t just have to be a computer programmer to get a job in ICT. From my perspective this is exactly the sort of thing I would have been interested in,” she says.

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