Patrice Dougan is the Herald's education reporter.

Kids, are you the next Jobs or Zuckerberg?

SAP, through its Young ICT Explorers programme, is encouraging school-aged children to use technology creatively. Photo / iStock
SAP, through its Young ICT Explorers programme, is encouraging school-aged children to use technology creatively. Photo / iStock

Are you a school-aged inventor with great innovative ideas? Then a new competition could be just what you're looking for to showcase your talent.

Software giant SAP is bringing its flagship youth innovation programme Young ICT Explorers to New Zealand. It is designed to inspire and encourage school-aged children to use technology creatively.

Pupils will be tasked with developing an innovative ICT project which will be showcased in an event in October.

It's hoped the programme will encourage young people to take up careers in the IT and tech industry.

"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," Graeme Riley, managing director of SAP New Zealand, said.

"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 per cent of 15 to 24-year-olds are not in employment, education or training. And enrolment in, and graduation from, tertiary ICT courses is still declining."

The programme hopes to engage young New Zealanders with technology "early, often and meaningfully".

The October event will give pupils the 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.

Nick Mulcahy, chief executive of Soltius, a SAP provider and one of New Zealand's leading IT firms, described the programme as a "critical initiative in driving STEM [science, technology, engineering, and maths] in our market".

"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 programme launch is expected to be announced this week, and will be in collaboration with the Manukau Institute of Technology.

Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place in each school year category -- ranging from Years 3 to 13.

Young ICT Explorers operates in seven states and territories in Australia, and last year a record 874 students presented 371 projects.

• Registrations are now open and available online at: youngictexplorers.org.nz

Some of the innovations from last year's Young ICT Explorers in Australia:

• A brail translator glove, that feels the braille and says the word out loud.

• A mailbox system that emails you when you've got a letter in the mail.

• 'Safecross Driveway Warning' system to warn pedestrians when a car exits a driveway.

• A piece of equipment which can be used for people living by themselves, so their family can check on them regularly.

• A computer-powered plant watering system.

• A downloadable modification for Minecraft to add a single new Lucky Block to the game, which, when harvested, results in a random outcome.

• An Arduino-based midi controller to control virtual synthesisers, play music and allow performers to create visually appealing light shows.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 26 Sep 2016 11:20:03 Processing Time: 170ms