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Empowering women in IT: TAFE NSW helps bridge the gender gap

Empowering women in IT: TAFE NSW helps bridge the gender gap

TAFE NSW is taking steps to increase gender diversity in the IT sector, by helping young women make their mark in the industry through targeted training.

It comes as women continue to be underrepresented in the in-demand field, making up just 29% of the tech workforce in Australia, according to the Australian Computer Society's 2021 Digital Pulse report.

18-year-old Tingha local Zsaria Carruthers is one of many local students who have turned to TAFE NSW to get their foot in the door of the industry. After studying a Certificate II, III, and IV in Information Technology at TAFE NSW Inverell, she is now studying a degree in Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Newcastle, while working in an IT role at the Inverell Community Youth Centre.

“I’ve always been interested in technology so when TAFE NSW offered a coding and robotics short course that I could attend after high school hours, I jumped at the opportunity. I then decided to drop out of school to study the Certificate II, and haven’t looked back since,” Miss Carruthers said.

“There’s definitely more than one pathway to success. Studying at TAFE NSW has allowed me to progress to university while working in the industry, kickstarting my career.  It was great to be among like-minded people, including so many women – both young and old.

“I have dyslexia which means I can’t read or write very well, but my TAFE NSW teachers provided me with extra support and learning resources which was invaluable. I’ve learnt so much including how to program and code, write reports, and work out problems – and I already have a leg up on my peers at uni.

“The IT industry offers so many pathways and it’s been so rewarding utilising my IT skills at the Inverell Community Youth Centre. I hope to one day start my own robotics company, building technology to help the community. I’ve always been fascinated with 3D printing, programming, and building robots and can’t wait to gain more skills and build my career. This is just the beginning.”

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Information Technology, Jacqueline Sheehan said Zsaria’s story highlights the impact of quality of education and training.

“Zsaria’s story shows the potential for young women to excel in the IT sector, and that barriers to learning can be overcome with determination and the right support in place,” Ms Sheehan said.

“The Certificate II in Applied Digital Technologies provides students with the skills they need to land a role in the growing IT industry. Through a mix of theoretical and hands on training, students learn fundamental digital skills such as using computer operating systems, identifying online security threats, and installing and using software.”

Media contact: Emma Hughes, Communications Specialist, 0409 618 291,