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Engineering Week 2018: Inspiring the next generation of engineers

Posted 1 month ago in Xero news by Ruth James
Posted by Ruth James

Xero had the privilege of inspiring budding engineers as part of Engineering Week recently.

Engineering Week is a national, annual event aimed at inspiring the next generation of engineers. During the week of Monday 13 to Saturday 18 August, school students had the opportunity to take part in a variety of visits and events which showcase amazing engineering across the country, feeding their natural curiosity about the world and how it works.

How Xero got involved:

Auckland

Over the week we had four different high school groups visit our office. As well as a brief introduction to Xero, we took them on an office tour. We gave them an opportunity to talk to people within the tech teams about what they do, how they got into tech, what challenges they faced, and what they loved about their job.

We also talked to students about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the tech sector. To give you a bit of perspective, of the 42 students that attended, only three of these students were female.

Last Saturday, Xero was one of a few software engineering teams to take part in the Auckland Engineering Week Expo held at The University of Auckland. From start to finish the event was buzzing, with a constant stream of parents and kids stopping in at the booth and playing with the mini robot track we’d set up in the corner. There was a healthy mix of genders at the event, most of whom were 11 years or younger.

Wellington

We were delighted to host 15 students from three local high schools – including 10 female students – for a morning in the office. We welcomed them with a brief introduction to Xero, followed by a tour around the office to see the workspace and meet several engineering teams.

After the tour, the students formed small teams to build and code a kitset “sumobot” (supplied by nodebots via Alex Gibson who works at Xero). The mayor of Wellington also dropped in to show his support for the event and witness the excitement.

To complete the visit, we listened to a panel of recent graduates chatting about their diverse journeys to software and why they love their work. All in all, the office visit was a great success: the students left with a better understanding of the software industry and a smile on their faces. We even made the news!

Xero was the only software company at the Wellington Engineering Week Expo on Saturday, but the prevalence of software was expressed in the many virtual reality and drone activities at other stalls. Visitors to our stall of all ages enjoyed using the Leap Motion (infrared hand recognition) controllers. We had a steady stream of parents and children playing with the controllers, chatting about Xero, and building more awareness of software in general.

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