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Come now, the jug's hot

OPINION: I’ve been in the Information and Communication Technology sector of the business for nearly 15 years and in that time one thing hasn’t changed when I turn up for meetings, I’m either one of a handful of pacific island faces or I’m the lone Pacific Islander in the room (albeit my living room at the moment).

by Tana Valeni     I     15 May 2020


Also in this short 15 years, the landscape of IT has changed tremendously.. Technology has changed, not only in terms of the gadgets we see everywhere at home, but also in the way in which all the great technologies are being built, delivered and supported.

There’s so many different parts to the “IT industry”, in terms of the different roles required and the people you need to fulfill those roles and I often find myself wondering why I don’t see more of our people doing this work or moving into this space.

Tovia Va’aelua first awoke me to this thought of us not being involved and his article on linked in “Future of Work – A Pasifika perspective” outlines our current trajectory and some ways we can help change the way we think about IT and start encouraging our kids to start looking under the hood so to speak of their PlayStation’s and iPads.

So what’s my circle of influence and how do I become part of the change I want to see? Do I start joining the social media discussions and start a new challenge? Do I take the attention off someone else’s great cause because I need people to listen to what I need them to wake up to? Maybe?  But for me in my bubble, especially during these times and being blessed to still be able to have work, it starts at home.

It’s been interesting and sometimes surprisingly inspirational to see how much understanding my kids have around their technologies, watching them log into school class meetings and working on coding or running to see me at the same time because the modem probably needs to be restarted!  It’s encouraging to see some of their understanding but the challenge is, how do I continue the conversation and extend their interests and learning? But not only these kids, but what about outside our bubble?

One thing I do know is that I can think of many of our amazing pacific island people easily slotting into these jobs. We have the potential to not just join the game late on the bottom rung, I know people who could easily jump into senior roles in IT.

As pacific people we thrive off service of others, it’s ingrained in our culture, heck it’s quoted on my CV. But the industry needs our people, yes the industry desperately needs our future people, but with everything changing, today needs our people too.  As great story tellers, as leaders, as artists, as performers. The amazing talents which make up our people today is what the IT industry needs.

So does it really just come down to IT just sounds boring? Haha I jest but actually is that the
problem? Do our pacific people still just look at IT as the weird geeks? Maybe and maybe it’s time for these people to come and fix this perception?

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