Education – Ara Institute of Technology teams up with Inde Technology to increase female ICT students

Source: Ara Institute of Canterbury

Growth in innovation, and job opportunities in the STEM sector (science, technology, engineering and math) will increasingly drive economic growth globally, with the UN calculating that by 2025 in Europe alone there will be seven million STEM jobs available. But projections also indicate that there won’t be enough qualified workers to fill them, while female participation in the sector continues to lag.
The 2017 UNESCO report Cracking the Code: Girls and Women’s Education in STEM states that “Not only do girls have fewer initial education opportunities, but there are systemic impediments at every lifestage that push them out of the STEM fields.”

While much needs to be done to ensure that younger girls are encouraged to stick with maths and science subjects, Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd and Inde Technology plan to improve outcomes within the tertiary space. Beginning in 2021, the two organizations will be working together to encourage women into the technology sector with the provision of scholarships for promising female students studying ICT at Ara.

Inde will be sponsoring a total of four recipients for each year of the agreement, first and second-year learners studying for a degree in tech. The company will also have the option to provide placements for those students during their final capstone project for their last six months of study through work integrated learning.

Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd is one of New Zealand's leading providers of industry-led applied ICT and computing qualifications, with a range of programmes and courses that have been developed in partnership with industry, which keeps course content highly relevant. Nigel Young, Head of Ara’s Enterprise and Digital Innovation Department says ‘A key component of studying IT at Ara is gaining real-world experience by working in the IT industry as an integrated part of the learning. This new relationship with Inde builds on that solid foundation and provides our learners with support from successful local industry, as well as encouraging much-needed female participation in the rapidly growing area of IT and tech careers’

In 2016 – the same year that CPIT became Ara – Inde was founded in Christchurch. The team has already grown to over 50, and now has offices in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin. Inde’s team of technical experts work directly with customers and consults to some New Zealand’s largest enterprises, which means that its engineers get opportunities usually limited to big organizations while enjoying the culture, support and rapid growth possible in a small close-knit team.

Sara Ebsworth, People & Development Lead at Inde says “Our team is an eclectic mix of different backgrounds, cultures and nationalities but we’ve struggled to find females to fill technical roles – there is a short supply of women in our industry. We wanted to do something positive to change that and creating a partnership with Ara seemed like a great way to encourage and support more young women into our industry while putting us on the radar of the best new talent.”

In an international bid to address the issue, CEPIS has just launched ‘The DiversIT Charter’, an initiative dedicated to increasing the number of women in tech roles in Europe. The Charter was developed by the groups’ ‘Women in IT’ sub-group and will be open to organisations from across Europe including the UK.