Cloud accounting software firm Xero and software company Cogent will be giving paid internships to young women wanting to break into the technology sector as part of a Code Like A Girl initiative.
Students on a break from university, recent graduates, or those seeking a career change are being encouraged to apply for the internships, most of which will run for a year.
“The internship is designed to help master professional and technical skills, gain valuable experience and develop a network to help build their dream career in tech. For participating technology companies, they’ll be involved in developing and training for skills they need in their business and improving diversity at the same time,” said Vanessa Doake, co-founder of Code Like A Girl.
“What matters most is your desire to learn and your passion for technology. If you have strong communication skills, high emotional intelligence and maturity, you'll make an excellent intern,” she added.
Women are severely underrepresented in the technology sector. In 2015, a Deloitte and Australian Computer Society (ACS) report found that only 28 per cent of IT workers in Australia are women.
“We’re launching the internship program to help address this imbalance and work with Australian companies to train and develop the talent they need to be competitive and thrive,” Doake said.
Interns will be able to choose to work for a three, six or 12 months period and whether they work on a full-time or part-time basis. Code Like A Girl will support the interns with mentorship and coaching.
“The unfortunate reality is there currently isn’t enough tech workers in Australia to meet the demands. At Xero, we are taking steps to invest in local talent to stay ahead of the curve, and ensure that Australian tech remains competitive," said James O'Reilly, talent acquisition lead, Xero Australia.
"Code Like a Girl's new internship program is an important initiative for us to combat this talent shortage by promoting careers in tech to interested females and at the same time helping us build cognitively diverse teams.”