Tuesday, 07 September 2021 15:23

Thoughtworks' First Nations Delivery Centre supports working on-Country

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Thoughtworks First Nations Delivery Centre lead Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker Thoughtworks First Nations Delivery Centre lead Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker

Technology consultancy Thoughtworks has unveiled its First Nations Delivery Centre, a remote-first software consulting and development team comprising at least 50% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander technologists.

The centre was designed to create more software career opportunities for Indigenous technologists in Australia and provide career pathways beyond existing internship and graduate programs, according to Thoughtworks.

Furthermore, it enables team members to remain connected to Country – an important aspect of making technology careers more accessible for the Indigenous community and representing a huge potential for software that is built by First Nations technologists, the company said.

"Thoughtworks has worked alongside communities and institutions to develop, strengthen and support education and employment pathways for First Nations peoples, but it remains a concern that while 3% of Australians identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we estimate fewer than 100 First Nations people are employed full-time in software roles in Australia – less than 0.01% of the industry," said Thoughtworks First Nations Delivery Centre lead Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker.

"We need to make that percentage much, much larger but it's not just about creating new jobs and increasing representation, it's also about fundamentally changing the way we build sophisticated, ethical technology."

A pilot project saw the centre develop a new customer profile management portal on the Coles app in four months. The upgraded app was released in late 2020 and has been used by around 500,000 Coles customers, with more than 30% of them using the new set of services. (Coles is one of Australia's largest private sector employers of Indigenous peoples in Australia.)

The centre has also helped Port Adelaide's Tauondi Aboriginal College more efficiently adapt to and meet state funding changes, for example by developing a mechanism for aggregating multiple data sources and turning it into the 'stories' expected by government reporting requirements.

"Commitment is nothing without action and the First Nations Delivery Centre is the culmination of many years of investing in programs like CareerTrackers to develop more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tech careers. It's rewarding to see our vision for the Centre come to life and quickly become an integral part of software delivery for our clients," said Thoughtworks ANZ managing director Kristan Vingrys.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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