Datacom runs an IT programme in local high schools.
The IT industry in New Zealand has a significant constraint – the sector is quickly scaling, but the pipeline of young New Zealanders who view IT or computer science as a desirable career is limited.
It is essential that there is a rapid cultural and educational shift; the industry is looking at a significant skills shortage and Datacom has focused on addressing this growth limitation as a way to contribute to a higher-achieving tech sector and New Zealand economy.
In the 2014 academic year we implemented a programme of teaching IT in Auckland schools. The objectives were to test where it is possible to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools, and to lift the profile of IT as a profession in the minds of students while they are forming views about their careers.
Students who attended Datacom's after-school classes had significantly better results than the 2013 average for the same Programming and Planning standards. In the Level 1 Programming course, for example, failure rates in all schools averaged 34.2 percent. In the six schools Datacom was involved in, the non-pass rate was cut by two thirds to 10.3 percent. Students were also more likely to achieve grades of Merit or Excellence in the Datacomled classes.
Key here was self-determination by the school and we have provided a jump-start so teachers can then go on and teach these subjects with assurance.
"We work to be a force for good in the communities in which we operate."
Schools have a relationship of trust and confidence with their families, but keeping up with technologies and opportunities is very hard for schools. If schools don’t signal that IT is as challenging and rewarding as engineering, science and law, New Zealand won’t have enough bright, motivated young people to help maintain and grow its burgeoning ICT sector. Datacom’s long-term commitment to supporting the education sector is one that is based on trust, and one where engaging with young people and their families makes the difference.
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