Otago Polytechnic has come up with a boost for women wanting to get into the male- dominated fields of engineering and IT.
Recognising that women are underrepresented in these industries, Otago Polytechnic has created two scholarships, each worth $1000 for every year of study.
Director of Communications Mike Waddell says it’s important to promote inclusion in all programmes. “Otago Polytechnic values our responsibility in society. If we can support women into under-represented areas of study, it’s better for the community as a whole.”
Both the IT and Engineering industries are on New Zealand Immigration’s skill shortage list for long term shortages.
Waitaki District Council Asset Manager Caitlin Donovan graduated from Otago Polytechnic in 2011 with a NZ Diploma in Engineering (Civil). There were only two women in her class, but she says that didn’t affect her studies or desire to enter a career in engineering.
“It ticks all my boxes. It’s a great job, and one of the higher paying industries. There are plenty of opportunities going forward too,” she says.
Tracey Ayre is co-leader of the Diversity and Inclusion programme at IPENZ (Institution of Professional Engineers NZ). She says female representation is increasing in very small steps. “When the Diversity and Inclusion programme was launched in 2011, only 11 percent of members were women. Now it’s at about 14 percent.”
“There are lots of great opportunities in engineering. It pays really well, qualifications are recognised overseas, and there’s a shortage of engineers around the country,” Ayre says.
Donovan sums it all up in one sentence. “Just because there aren’t many women in the industry doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be!”
Applications for the scholarships close on February 7th 2017.
IT FEELS as i f time has passed very quickly since starting engineering this year. I have completed multiple assignments, tests and exams and have come out the other end excited to continue this journey.
Recently I finished my first group assignment for design where we designed and built a truss bridge out of popsicle sticks. We came second in our tutorial with t he truss holding 425N before failure, which was due to t he constraint of using PVA glue to attach t he cross members.
Exams went very quickly due to t he tight schedule but I feel prepared to choose my specialisation. This was extremely stressful for me as t here are nine choices and I struggle to make small daily decisions whereas t his decision will i mpact my l i fe greatly. The papers selected for f i rst years helps to narrow down t his search as you discover what you love but also what you really don’t enjoy, which I found to be circuit theory.
Therefore, I made t he tough decision and chose Chemical and Materials Engineering as my f i rst choice with Civil and Environmental as my second choice. The materials paper was one of my favourite papers and I already had a love of chemistry, which cemented my choice. ChemMat also has t he highest proportion of girls – almost 30 percent I believe – and i s one of t he harder specialisations to get i nto with only 80 places available. Due to its 90 places available and t he peaked i nterest, I believe Software i s going to be t he most popular specialisation for 2017.