SAP is bringing its flagship youth innovation programme Young ICT Explorers to New Zealand, utilising local partner Solitus and the Manukau Institute of Technology to drive the initiative.
Designed to inspire and encourage Kiwi school-aged children to use technology creatively, the programme invites them to apply what they learn about information and communications technologies (ICT) inside and outside their classrooms to develop innovative ICT projects.
In short, the Young ICT Explorers programme addresses two major objectives; improving ICT skills among youth and boosting innovation, achieving this by engaging young New Zealanders with technology early, often and meaningfully.
“The correlation between high youth unemployment rates and the large and growing shortage of digital skills represents a startling paradox in the relationship between employment and education,” says Graeme Riley, Managing Director, SAP New Zealand.
“On the one hand the youth unemployment rate is still above pre-GFC levels; on the other hand demand for ICT skills continues to grow rapidly.
“According to Statistics New Zealand 10.9 percent of 15-24 year olds are not in employment, education or training. And enrolment in, and graduation from, tertiary ICT courses is still declining.”
At the event, scheduled for October 8 in Auckland, Riley says students will have an opportunity to present their project to a judging panel of academics, industry partners and ICT professionals.
Each project will be assessed on its creativity, uniqueness, quality, level of difficulty and project documentation.
“With SAP’s Young ICT Explorers programme expanding to New Zealand for the first time this year, we are proud to be the first on board to support this critical initiative in driving STEM in our market,” adds Nick Mulcahy, CEO, Solitus.
“As New Zealand’s most trusted SAP provider and one of the country’s leading IT firms, we understand that if New Zealand businesses are going to be successful we need to instil confidence within future generations entering the workforce, inspiring an interest in the skills they need, and delivering the platforms to teach them.”
At present, the programme currently operates in seven states and territories in Australia - last year a record 874 students presented 371 projects.
“The skills shortage in the ICT industry is an ongoing challenge,” says Edwina Mistry, Industry and Community Engagement Manager, Manukau Institute of Technology.
“The Faculty of Business and Information Technology at MIT recognises this challenge and works with industry to promote programmes in partnership with schools.
“The faculty sees the Young ICT Explorers programme as a great opportunity to partner with SAP to promote IT as a career.”
Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each school year category (division).
A trophy will also be awarded to the winning team’s school in each division, and all qualifying entrants will receive a certificate of commendation for their participation.
Registrations are now open and available online at www.youngictexplorers.org.nz for teachers and parents to register students from years 3 to 13 for venues across the country.