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The Cultivate Technology Scholarship

Photo caption: Toma Mirchevska (2022 scholarship recipient) with Nicola Taylor (Tax Traders co-founder)

This year’s scholarship is now open! Apply here.

We are all aware by now of the critical role that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations play in our society. You’d be hard-pressed to go through an average week without reading at least one headline about the next big start-up, or of tech giants like Facebook, Amazon and Twitter. In September 2021, roughly 45% of jobs filled in Aotearoa were in STEM-related fields.

Equitable access to these fast-growing fields remains a major issue in New Zealand and beyond. Research illustrates that Pasifika and Māori students are the ones left behind, with these groups representing only 8.6% and 16.4% of the total number of people taking a STEM subject at all levels across New Zealand, respectively.

When there’s diversity in tech, we all win. Better problem solving, more creativity, and ultimately, better business outcomes are all proven benefits of higher rates of diversity.

To help level the playing field, in 2022 we launched the Cultivate Technology Scholarship in partnership with Taxlab. Our goal is to provide a future in technology for a school leaver who shows a strong interest in pursuing a vocation in technology but may not be able to enter further education due to environmental and financial circumstances.

The scholarship is valued at over $30,000 over three years, along with mentoring, support and coaching within the fintech industry. While a job isn’t guaranteed, the scholar will be in the best possible position to achieve a role in the New Zealand technology sector. All applicants, despite the outcome, will be offered the option to be part of the Tax Traders mentorship programme.

In our inaugural year, we were so inspired by all the applicants that we couldn’t pick just one recipient, so we chose two! We selected Toma Mirchevska as our primary recipient of the scholarship. Toma began her studies in February, studying engineering at the University of Auckland.

We were also impressed by another applicant, Fusi Mataele. So much so, that we decided to create a secondary scholarship package for her as she embarks on her studies at Manukau Institute of Technology.