Our People | Kym Pearce
A career in IT has been more than just professionally advantageous for Kym Pearce; it’s enabled him to travel the world and give back to communities where everyday access to internet and computers are a luxury.
A Principal Architect in the Infrastructure department at Suncorp, Kym says his passion for information and computers started when he was just a kid, recalling fond memories of pulling apart old keyboards and hardware. This curiosity to create set him up with a lifelong drive to build things that help people in their day-to-day.
“I have a creative side which enjoys building things,” says Kym. “My role involves connecting people and, to this day, I still love learning new technology and seeing first-hand how it can make people’s lives better.”
An insatiable traveller—with 50+ countries and counting in his passport—it was a holiday to see mountain gorillas in Uganda that sparked Kym’s love for the African continent.
“It is hard to put in words what life is like there until you experience it. Seeing gorillas in their natural habitat was very special, however the time spent travelling around the country was eye opening,” said Kym of his first visit to the African nation.
Our aim is to help provide students with the basic skills to be able to kick-start a better life. Helping address the health and economic challenges in Africa starts with quality education; IT skills are an important part of this, for both the teachers and students.
For Kym, this once-in-a-lifetime holiday sparked a 3-month stint utilising not only his extensive IT knowledge—teaching IT to the local teachers—but helping build a new school in the Ugandan township of Kampala.
“School for Life (an Australian not-for-profit organisation in Uganda) were searching for someone with IT knowledge to spend time in Uganda educating the teachers and uplift their IT capability,” said Kym. “
While a vast skillset in IT infrastructure and design doesn’t naturally lend itself to volunteering work, Kym says it’s the human element, connecting with others, where he draws synergy.
“My main role in Uganda was to improve the teachers’ IT skills; working with the schools to establish a computer lab for the high school, implementing WIFI Internet to the buildings and running regular classes for the teachers to improve their IT knowledge.”
This commitment to education, community support and providing a hand up is encouraging the students to follow by example and many are on a pathway to improve their life and the lives around them.
With only 7% of the Ugandan population having access to power, volunteers like Kym are helping school-aged children develop key digital skills needed to enhance their education and subsequent career abilities.
“Most students only get to use a computer at school and very few have access to the Internet,” says Kym. “Working with School for Life, our aim is to help provide students with the basic skills to be able to kick-start a better life. IT skills are an important part of this, for both the teachers and students.”
Having been back in Australia for two years now, Kym has kept a strong relationship with his peers in both Sydney and Uganda, continuing his work with the team at School for Life.
“Since returning to Australia I’ve continued to volunteer my services in my spare time. I provide general IT advice and help make improvements to their fundraising, marketing and financial systems.
“It’s a pretty small sacrifice for me but helps the charity avoid spending money on IT support and allows the money to be directed towards building more schools and helping more students. I would love to return to Uganda again, to further improve the IT facilities for the students and enable the teachers to improve the quality of education.”