ShadowTech day for secondary schoolgirls

Otago Polytechnic is gearing up to host secondary schoolgirls from Dunedin and South Otago, as an annual ShadowTech day returns this week.

The all-day event involves shadowing female tech professionals at various local businesses.

It provides pupils in years 9 to 11 with an opportunity to experience what working in a tech-related job is like - and encourages them on to education pathways leading to tech roles. Otago Polytechnic liaison officer Dr Emilie Crossley said this was the third year the event had been held, and 39 pupils were expected.

ShadowTech encourages girls to take science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) - allowing them to study technology at tertiary level and broaden their future career possibilities.

Girls were matched with mentors in the tech industry, and spent all day learning about the wide range of tech careers available and how IT is used in real-world business applications - before returning to the polytechnic to hear inspiring speeches from industry experts, Dr Crossley said.

"It would be fantastic to see some of the girls who are part of ShadowTech back here in a few years, studying one of our Information Technology programmes."

This was only the third year the day had been held, and it was far too early to tell whether it was affecting the number of women who chose to enrol in Stem subjects after they finished school.

However she hoped it would have an impact, and if they did not choose to come to Otago, she still hoped they might become interested in studying STEM subjects elsewhere.

The pupils would also get the chance to connect with some female STEM students at Otago Polytechnic, so they could see it was not only men who chose to take them.


 

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