Meet the Talent Group Finalists in the 2022 iTnews Benchmark Awards

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Inclusivity, breadth lead the pack.

The current IT skills shortage gripping the Australian technology sector is critical, with many organisations seeking to implement their own training and education programs to address  gaps.

The two finalists in the iTnews Benchmark Awards Talent Group category recognise that innovative programs to attract and retain technology staff are fundamental to economic recovery and to their businesses, both for current stability and sustaining future growth.

The two finalists in this category are:

  • UST’s Step IT Up Australia program, run with Macquarie Bank
  • The NSW Telco Authority’s training and development program

Both finalists demonstrated that a proactive response to closing Australia’s technology skills gap is a national imperative, and that the opportunity to upskill and develop existing talent will serve to power business transformation. 

Inclusivity to address the fintech skills shortage

UST partnered with Macquarie Bank to deliver an inclusive program that addressed not only the critical need for Java developers in the finance sector and across the economy, but also served to accelerate the careers of under-represented talent in the industry.

“The Step IT Up program is designed to give graduates the opportunity to acquire highly in-demand Java development and technology ways of working skills, leading to a career, in this case, at one of Australia’s largest banks, Macquarie Bank,” UST's managing director for Australia and New Zealand Matthew McCormack said.

Step IT Up Australia is a talent and impact program providing training and a pathway to careers in technology for people from under-represented communities.

The focus of the first Step IT Up cohort was to support Indigenous Australians and unemployed women.

“With the global talent supply impacting the Australian economy, every day we are seeing companies looking for new ways to shore up their talent pipelines to accelerate their digital transformations," McCormack said.

"We know that some of the brightest and most talented minds are under-represented in the technology space and our aim is to actively change that."

Re-wiring the best telco talent  

The NSW Telco Authority, which operates the state’s public safety radio communications network for emergency responders, has embarked on a $1.4 billion network expansion. 

It needs not only the best talent to support that growth, but also has to keep its existing team at the leading edge of technical expertise.

The Critical Communications Enhancement Program, which will provide a single network for emergency services, requires highly skilled staff and a business and technology culture that can support, train and attract the best people for this mission critical team. 

“What we recognised was that training and development was really vital to the sustainable growth of the organisation, as well as to our success," NSW Telco Authority managing director Kylie De Courteney. 

"We focused on building in that kind of capability into our existing workforce, which included a lot of upskilling in digital and technology capability."

Over the last two years, the organisation has expanded its headcount from 180 staff to over 400 to meet the growing demands of its critical program delivery and support operations.

As part of its training and upskilling initiative, the Authority deployed professional service courses delivered by nationally recognised service providers.

This covered the entire workforce at every level of the business to ensure teams were getting access to best practice in their areas.

“The biggest challenge was balancing the requirements for people to do their job and their requirements to get them upskilled for their future job," De Courteney said.

"What I'm really proud of is the fact that we gave people our most valuable resource, which is time. We provided staff time away from their work. We supported them with flexible working arrangements."

De Courteney added that the impact of the program on the Telco Authority’s culture had been profound.

“We've had much lower turnover than we've had in the past, our employee engagement numbers are up and we're getting significant numbers of staff referrals for roles within the organisation," she said.

Watch the mini-documentary series

We thank every organisation that entered the talent award category – a highly competitive category with many innovative entries.

Watch the rest of the mini-documentaries about the 2022 iTnews Benchmark Awards finalists’ projects here.

On June 15, the award winners will be announced at a ceremony and dinner hosted by KPMG in Barangaroo, Sydney.

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