Tech companies want more Māori and Pasifika workers

By Talisa Kupenga

Big name tech companies and the education sector are teaming up to encourage more girls into technology careers given the shortage of women in the industry. Māori and Pasifika teens got the opportunity this weekend to try their hand at what could be their future job.

Coding and robotics to encourage girls into tech.

Hannah AhMann says "I like it because it's fun."

Fourteen-year-old Arielle Renata says "I didn't think that I'd be interested in something like this but this today actually opened my eyes and made me intrigued."

Around 80 students from across Auckland between the ages of 12 and 16-years took part in the DigiGirlz programme, run by OMGtech, Microsoft and Manukau Institute of Technology.

Manukau Institute of Technology’s Edwina Mistry says "A lot of kids think that technology is using their iPhone and Instagram and Facebook but they don't realist that technology is part of our life and part of every business and by the time these kids go into work some of the careers that are there right now won't be there."

Only three percent of kiwi school girls aged 15-years-old consider a career in tech. More than three quarters of the industry is male but Māori only make up nearly three percent of workers.

Microsoft’s Partner Strategy and Program Manager Jared Pedersen says this Māori and Pasifika groups are underrepresented.

“We do have a few at Microsoft today but we need more. When we have Māori when we have Pasifika when we have people from the local area it helps us as a company speak to the full spectrum of the audience."

Beginners today the potential tech-experts of tomorrow.