Future in Tech
works specifically to increase the number of young New Zealanders choosing careers in technology, engineering and science and has voluntary ambassadors from all areas who speak to students about what they do, bringing the job title to life.
Cheryl Frankis, an asset performance engineer here at Vector, is involved in this programme and through it has had many opportunities to show her support for the sector, from helping to judge the science and technology fair, to mentoring a school team taking part in the Tiaki Expo
. Cheryl has also been actively involved in Connexis, encouraging women to get involved in the sector as they are still hugely under represented.
I caught up with Cheryl recently to talk about her voluntary mentoring experience through Future in Tech.
5 QUICK-FIRE QUESTIONS WITH CHERYL:
WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO BE INVOLVED WITH RAISING AWARENESS OF CAREERS IN STEM?
STEM touches every part of our lives. The professions that build communities and transform nations are all based on STEM and that is why I think it is important to raise awareness of STEM careers. To succeed in this highly technological and information based society, STEM is necessary and I encourage students to push themselves so they can continue to develop their capabilities in this area.
WHAT DID YOUR MENTORING ROLE THROUGH FUTURE IN TECH INVOLVE?
Over a period of 12 weeks, I mentored 16 students from Aorere College. They were tasked to come up with a technological solution with a sustainable focus which would then be judged against 10 other schools at the Tiaki Expo.
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING INVOLVED?
Watching the progression of the kids as they became more interested and enthusiastic about the project. It was also a great opportunity to help them develop other skills such as project management and increase their knowledge about related areas. I arranged for a few other engineers and Vector employees to come and speak to them about various topics relevant to the industry, such as renewable energy, sustainability and EVs.
There were quite a few, but one of the best was watching one of the quieter members of the group grow in confidence throughout the whole experience, right up to the point when he volunteered himself to be one of three to present the idea and answer the Q and As on stage at the Tiaki Expo.
WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN?
Yes absolutely – I just wish there had been similar opportunities like this for us when we were growing up!
ANYTHING YOU’VE TAKEN AWAY FROM THE EXPERIENCE?
One of the team presenting the idea at the expo got up on stage and completely unprompted said “It doesn’t matter if we win or lose because we’ve learnt so much” – that was pretty exciting to hear and also something that’s very relevant for us all!
At Vector, inspiring and educating communities about technology and innovation is central to our vision of creating a new energy future and there are a number of initiatives we’re proud to be involved in. Sponsorship of the Vector EPro8 Challenge
in Auckland schools this year has been hugely successful with over 2,200 students taking part in a wide range of engineering and problem solving challenges. Our Schools Safety Programme
continues to grow and this year the team visited thirty-six schools, and talked to 7,619 students.