Microsoft has launched a traineeship program aimed at creating a new pipeline of IT talent.
Working in partnership with MEGT, Prodigy Learning and TAFE, the traineeship program will combine a Certificate IV in Information Technology Networking with paid work experience.
The Cert IV will be delivered by TAFE NSW, while trainees will also work towards achieving a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate certification, which includes a specialisation in cloud skills.
The traineeships will kick off in pilot form from February 2019, with 150 placements available, 50 of those have already been secured. Trainees, which will be paid as they learn, will be hosted by Microsoft and its client and partner organisations ANZ Bank, Datacom, DXC, MoQ Digital, Veritec, XCentral and Oobe at launch.
The program is designed to offer students a foot in the door to an IT career by incorporating a core set of seven Microsoft certifications, including some of the latest Azure and cloud computing credentials. Though the traineeship features cloud-specific Microsoft certifications, TAFE's IT training will be broad and foundational, with trainees provided education across multiple systems and software, according to TAFE NSW.
Trainees will work 38 hour weeks and will spend one day a week at TAFE for a full day of training. The certificate will take two years to complete.
MEGT acts as a legal employer for the trainees and manages the recruitment for the hosting companies involved.
Speaking at a launch event in Sydney, Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall said skills were required to drive the next phase of economic growth in Australia
"We've come off 27 years of unbroken economic growth, to be born in and live in Australia you have won the lottery, especially our generation, and yet as we look to the next 27 years, I'm not sure there are many people who are going to argue that what has brought us to this point is unlikely to take us forward," he said.
"Dependence on mining and resources industry may not carry the country forward as it has over the last 27 years, all around us we see the signs of digital transformation, we know that digital technology is going to impact every part of our lives, it already is.
"We know that digital technologies are going to change the way in which companies operate and we know digital technology is going to change the way governments service citizens across the country. It will impact literally every part of our society."
"So for us, one of the first elements of addressing that opportunity is the gap that we see in the number of people working in the ICT industry and the skills shortage that we see all around us."
Quoting between 20,000 and 22,000 new ICT jobs opening up every year, Worrall said the opportunity was huge, but mentioned the topic of finding talent came up often across Microsoft's 10,000 partners in Australia.
Speaking on a panel to Microsoft One Commercial Partner director Mark Leigh, Microsoft partner and traineeship launch host Veritec chief executive Keiran Mott spoke about how the skills gap had impacted his business.
"We're a Canberra-founded organisation, we have 150 staff and I have the privilege of leading 150 great people, delivering outcomes for public sector, largely," he said.
"The Canberra market and federal government market is quite specific around nationality and having a security clearance, so it's a real challenge for us trying to find the right people at the right time with the right skills, and that's why we're really keen to be a part of this program."
Though the traineeship features cloud-specific Microsoft certifications, TAFE's IT training will be broad and foundational, with trainees provided education across multiple systems and software.
TAFE NSW managing director Dr Caralee McLiesh, who also spoke at the event, welcomed the partnership
“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," she said.