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IBM EXITEs Careers in IT for Girls

  • 05 October, 2004 15:23

<p>IBM EXITEs Careers in IT for Girls</p>
<p>One-week camp to address under-representation of women in IT</p>
<p>Sydney – 05 October, 2004 – IBM and the New South Wales Department of Education and Training today launched a camp to promote science and technology careers amongst girls. The Exploring Interests in Technology and Engineering (EXITE) camp aims to address the growing under-representation of women in information technology (IT) by encouraging girls to explore the IT industry and gain an understanding of its career potential.</p>
<p>Held across 37 locations around the globe, the IBM EXITE camp is this week hosting girls from Sydney high schools, including Rooty Hill High, Erskine Park High and Chifley College’s Dunheved and Shalvey campuses.</p>
<p>“The EXITE Camp is an important program that provides real benefits in addressing the imbalance between men and women in frontline IT roles,” said Michelle Ellis, Manager for E-Learning Strategy at the NSW Department of Education and Training’s Centre for Learning Innovation.</p>
<p>“The Department of Education and Training is proud to have been involved with EXITE for the last three years as we continue to expand and invest in IT programs and resources so that young women in the NSW public school system have even more opportunities in this growing field.</p>
<p>“EXITE is a great example of the way in which partnerships between government and industry can enhance outcomes for our students,” said Ms Ellis.</p>
<p>The IBM EXITE camp participants, aged between 13 and 15 years, will learn about technologies such as wearable computers, wireless technology, virtual design and voice recognition. The girls will also design a multimedia website and work alongside a wide range of women who currently work in the IT industry.</p>
<p>Tony Best, General Manager, Public Sector, IBM Australia, says it is important that young women are given every opportunity to discover career paths in this exciting industry.</p>
<p>“While women are equal user of technology their current under-representation in the industry means they are not making an equal contribution to technological advancement. The IBM EXITE camp allows girls to experience first-hand just how challenging and rewarding a career in IT can be,” says Mr. Best.</p>
<p>Rob Durie, CEO of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), confirms that despite the high levels of computer literacy among high school girls this does not seem to translate into their participation as employees of the IT industry.</p>
<p>“Research into women in IT continues to show a significant gender imbalance. Despite increased use of computers by high school girls, only 20-25% of the local IT industry is female, a figure that has been consistent for the past decade. Research also concludes that the under-representation of women in IT directly contributes to a decline in the amount of competition and innovation within the industry.” says Mr. Durie.</p>
<p>“The Australian IT industry requires a 50% female participation rate in order to gain the required levels of increased productivity, product development and improvements in qualitative factors such as timelines, convenience and variety,” says Mr. Durie.</p>
<p>Alison DeKluver, EXITE Camp Program Manager, IBM Australia, adds “Beyond the science and technology aspects of the IBM EXITE camp, the program is also an opportunity for girls to recognise the IT industry as a path for commercially focused careers, where strengths in business or creativity can give them an advantage.”</p>
<p>To support the girls’ ongoing interests in the IT industry, at the conclusion of the IBM EXITE camp each participant will be assigned and IBM EXITE mentor and invited to undertake a 10 week on-line mentoring program.</p>
<p>This year the IBM EXITE camp will take place at the IBM Innovation Centre, Sydney, on 5-8 October.</p>
<p>About EXITE
More than 3,000 girls have participated in EXITE camps around the world since it was launched in 1999 as an extension of IBM’s commitment to reach out to groups that are under-represented in the technical workforce and to train and recruit individuals from those constituencies for technical careers.</p>
<p>Nearly 2,000 IBM employees across the globe, male and female, will participate in the EXITE camps as volunteers. The background work done prior to and during the camp by these volunteers will help participants gain further understanding of the technologies available today, both IBM and those of other companies.</p>
<p>About IBM
IBM is the world’s largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key IBM Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that help enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business on demand. More information on EXITE Camps can be found at http://www.ibm.com/diversity. For more information about IBM, visit http://www.ibm.com/ondemand.</p>
<p>Further information:
Pilar Martin
External Communications Manager, Public Sector, IBM Australia
Phone: 02 9397 8671
Email: pilarm@au1.ibm.com</p>

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