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Ballarat - 04 Nov 2009: Recognised as one of Australia’s greatest ‘Learning Cities’, Ballarat is hosting the EXploring Interests in Technology and Engineering (E.X.I.T.E) camp from 3 – 6 November 2009. Organised by IBM, E.X.I.T.E Ballarat is a four day camp involving a range of hands-on activities in the fields of IT and Engineering and this year focuses on Indigenous youth. The camp aims to encourage greater learning of technology amongst rural Indigenous youth, and to encourage people living in rural cities like Ballarat to explore the IT industry and gain an understanding of its career potential.
This year E.X.I.T.E Ballarat is attended by approximately 20 students in years 9-11. Secondary schools from Ballarat and the surrounding district are participating in the program. IBM is partnering with the University of Ballarat, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the Catholic Education Office Diocese of Ballarat, the Grampians region Local Learning and Employment Network and for the first time ever Toyota.
“IBM is committed to developing IT skills in Australia. This is the second camp we have arranged with a focus on working with the Indigenous community, following a successful Indigenous camp in 2007. It’s fortunate that IBM has a presence in Ballarat, where there is also a significant Indigenous population - we are keen to make this a sustained engagement with local Indigenous communities, not just a one-off event,” said Cameron Woolfe, EX.I.T.E Leader Ballarat, IBM Australia.
The E.X.I.T.E program is part of a global IBM initiative to tackle the IT skills shortage. As a measure of success from the 2007 camp one of the female students is returning to mentor this years’ campers, and another student has entered the IT industry as a result of the camp and will talk about his career choice.
Highlights of E.X.I.T.E Ballarat include a Welcome to Country ceremony, a visit to the local ABC radio studio, as well as a CD recording session and a robotics session.
“Knowledge of Information Technology is essential for everyone in today’s world and IBM is providing a fantastic opportunity for Indigenous students in the Ballarat region,” said Shirley Morgan, Manager, Aboriginal Education Centre, University of Ballarat.
“The staff at the Aboriginal Education Centre hopes that the students enjoy the camp and learn more about careers in Information Technology and Engineering. The University of Ballarat has many opportunities for pathways for the students to continue in this field, which I am sure will open up a world of new experiences for them.”
More than 3,000 students have participated in E.X.I.T.E 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.
Nearly 2,000 IBM employees across the globe, male and female, will participate in the E.X.I.T.E 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.
For more information about IBM, visit www.ibm.com.
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