High Tech Youth Target Maori and Pacific Youth for ICT Jobs

(PR.co.nz) Sam Chapman, Chairperson of High Tech Youth, says “technology is shattering traditional economic norms, where before people made money through an individual competitive advantage, in the new digital world it is the willingness to share and collaborate that gives you and your whanau the advantage. This way of thinking and doing is not unfamiliar to indigenous people. Technology and culture together have the potential to radically transform New Zealand’s so-called underserved communities for good”.

However, globally the ICT and technology sector has an appalling record for its lack of diversity and gender equity in its workforce. In the United States, for example, less than 21% are females and less than 4% are people of colour – 2% if you are African American, and it is actually worse in New Zealand.

Mike Usmar, the Chief Executive Officer of High Tech Youth, says “The facts are clear, only 1% of Maori are studying ICT at tertiary level, yet the technology export sector is worth over seven billion dollars to our country. With just 2.5% of the Maori workforce employed in the ICT sector, we have to ask ourselves why? And more importantly, what would New Zealand look like socially and economically, if the thousands of young people we see turning up each day at our High Tech Youth Studio’s had the full backing to transform the future of this country – the struggle with housing, health, unemployment, gone” reports Usmar”.

High Tech Youth as a network recognises the goal of 60,000 ICT jobs filled is an ambitious task. Usmar says, “We know our young people can equally foot it on the global cyber stage. We are credentialing youth as young as thirteen with adult industry certifications, and just this weekend a young person from our West Auckland Studio was sponsored along with his mentor to the Sundance Next Fest Film Festival in Los Angeles in recognition of his expertise in cinematography”.

The Indigenous Innovation Hui, co-sponsored by Microsoft NZ and AUT’s Colab, is bringing together key speakers and leaders from across the country, and will serve as the initial platform to ensure all young New Zealanders have the opportunity to grow this countries broadband economy, and do so equally.

WHEN: 26 August 9.am Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre, Auckland.
REGISTER: www.hightechyouth.org