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A group of tech-savvy Kamo High School students enjoyed the opportunity to visit one of New Zealand’s most cutting-edge companies when they took a field trip to Auckland with the help of NorthTec.
The group spent the day with creative staff at Xero, a New Zealand-based software company which develops accounting software and has operations in the US, UK and Australia.
The 15-strong group were accompanied by their technology teacher, Phillip Calver, along with NorthTec STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) project manager, Nigel Studdart, who organised the trip. Research Educators Temakwan Fenton-Coyne and Luke Tomes, both technology experts who work for NorthTec and Pehiaweri Marae through funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, also joined the group.
Nigel Studdart said: “The team at Xero did an amazing job of opening the eyes of the students and teachers to the amazing opportunities in the software development and creative field. Accounting software never looked so smart or so gorgeous and cool!”
He said the Xero staff were all “quirky and super-smart” individuals that the Year 10 students could relate to, and worked in a highly creative environment that was inspiring. They were impressed with the Xero team’s approach, including team problem-solving sessions and hackathons to create new ideas.
The Kamo High students are studying coding under the guidance of Research Educators Temakwan and Luke, who are also running community classes at the marae. The high school students are currently learning the programming language, Python, which will set them on the path to becoming skilled at coding.
The trip to Xero came about through rugby league great Graham Lowe, who is involved with NorthTec through the Lowie Foundation and is a friend of technology entrepreneur and Xero founder and CEO, Rod Drury. The Lowie Foundation and NorthTec run a partnership programme which offers high-performance sports training alongside academic classes.
Nigel Studdart said: “This was a unique opportunity brought about by Kamo High, NorthTec, the Lowie Foundation and Xero all working together to show students an awesome working environment for them to aspire to.
“NorthTec is always looking at ways of enhancing our programme offerings in the technology field, and bringing technology skills to Northlanders.”
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