Launched on Monday for NSW, the initial program will facilitate more than 150 trainees taking part in the Microsoft Traineeship Program which will combine a Certificate IV in Information Technology with paid work experience at some of Australia’s leading organisations.
Microsoft says plans for further expansion of the training program in Australia are dependent on the success of the first year pilot.
Under the pilot program, trainees will also undertake a core set of the latest Microsoft Azure certifications to ensure they obtain relevant skills aligned to some of the industry’s most in demand jobs.
The company says it will work with strategic delivery partners MEGT, Prodigy Learning and TAFE NSW to source, train and manage trainees through the 12 to 24-month program.
According to the Australian Computer Society’s Digital Pulse 2018 report, Australia needs an additional 100,000 tech workers in the next five years, yet there are less than 5,000 local graduates coming out of university with an ICT-related degree each year, leaving a huge and growing shortfall of skilled tech talent.
“As an industry we need to develop alternative paths to encourage more people to pursue a career in IT. We believe Vocational and Educational Training (VET) is a great alternative to a more traditional degree for people who want to embark on a tech career and the strong initial take-up from our clients and partners is testament to the demand that exists today for tech talent,” Steven Worrall, managing director, Microsoft Australia said.
“In February we launched our National Skills Program to help Australians develop the skills required to thrive in the digital age, as we move from a resources rich economy to one where tech talent is in huge demand. Today’s announcement further demonstrates our commitment to tackling the growing skills gap in Australia through a combination of skills-building and on the job training.”
Trainees will be employed by group training organisation, MEGT, a not-for-profit that specialises in supporting trainees, who will recruit, screen and support the trainees for the duration of their traineeship.
TAFE NSW and Prodigy Learning have co-designed and developed the training program, which blends the latest Microsoft Azure Certifications with a customised Certificate IV in Information Technology.
Delivered by TAFE NSW, the qualification is also eligible for NSW Government subsidies under the Smart and Skilled program, and combines subsidised training with a paid traineeship, ensuring the program is accessible to students of all backgrounds.
TAFE NSW managing director Dr Caralee McLiesh said, “TAFE NSW has a strong track record of working with industry to provide students with the practical training they need to be job-ready. We’re proud to be partnering with Microsoft to roll-out this Traineeship Program to help deliver the skilled IT workforce Australia needs now and into the future.”
In addition, Microsoft Australia will organise further training and events, allowing partners to benefit from direct access to new and emerging talent, with an opportunity to align participants to their business needs and processes.
Microsoft is inviting its ecosystem of customers and partners to sign up to the program and host a trainee for the duration of the traineeship, including the ANZ Bank which it says is making an early commitment to the program by taking on fifteen trainees.
“We need to build great everyday banking experiences for our customers to compete in a challenging and rapidly changing environment. Taking a sustainable approach to developing talent will help us do this,” said Gerard Florian, group executive, Technology, at ANZ.
“We prize diversity and believe that one of the best ways to solve business problems involves collaboration and different ways of thinking. The trainee program is a great way for us – and all Australian companies – to access emerging talent from different backgrounds and to support them as they work towards being the next generation of technologists.”
Recent research conducted by Microsoft identified that amongst its Australian technology partners, many are facing difficulties in recruiting individuals with the required skills, with the most common shortages being in Cloud Performance and Infrastructure, followed by Data Management and Analytics.
Microsoft says the Traineeship Program will increase the pool of Microsoft Certified Professionals within the local industry.