SAP Launches Young ICT Explorers Programme in New Zealand

Designed to grow the digital economy by encouraging innovation among school students

AucklandSAP is bringing its flagship youth innovation programme Young ICT Explorers to New Zealand, hosting an event in Auckland on 8 October in association with Manukau Institute of Technology. Designed to inspire and encourage 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.

The Young ICT Explorers programme addresses two major objectives; improving ICT skills among youth and boosting innovation. It aims to achieve 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 of 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% 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, 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.

The programme currently operates in seven states and territories in Australia. Last year a record number 874 students presented 371 projects.

“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,” says Soltius CEO, Nick Mulcahy. “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.”

“The skills shortage in the ICT industry is an ongoing challenge,” says Edwina Mistry, Industry and Community Engagement Manager at 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.

For more information on the programme and to hear from students involved in the programme, please see:

About SAP
As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organisations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable approximately 300,000 customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit www.sap.co.nz.

About Young ICT Explorers
Young ICT Explorers is a schools based competition set up by SAP in Queensland in 2010, Launching in New South Wales in 2012, further expanding to Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and Townsville in 2014. 2015 saw the competition launching in West Australia and Tasmania for the first time and 2016 will see it expand to South Australia and New Zealand. School students are asked to enter ICT related projects in any field of study or topic of interest. The competition helps nurture, grow and encourage young minds to take up the challenge of Information and Communication Technology.

For more information, visit the Young ICT Explorers website: www.youngictexplorers.org.nz

For more information, media only:
Allan Botica, +64 21 400 500, allanb@botica.co.nz

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