High school students and career starters can now sign up for Datacom's newly launched virtual work experience platform to develop practical skills in four key tech pathways – cloud, automation, cyber and software development and get an introduction to some of what a career in tech has to offer.
The virtual work experience platform is free and available globally, and people can complete each module at their own pace. The content has been developed by Datacom's experts to cater to a younger audience to help increase awareness of the tech career possibilities available to them.
With the content geared towards early career-stage learners, the tasks are challenging but achievable and have been designed to spark an interest in further study.
"At Datacom we recognise the importance of upskilling people and introducing the next generation to all the opportunities that a career in technology has to offer," says Siobhan Gallacher, Director People & Culture.
"Using engaging and innovative ways to attract and upskill talent as well as giving back to our communities is a key priority. This programme is a stepping stone for talent to join Datacom and build meaningful careers with us and across the sector," she says.
"We hope that school leavers and new graduates will use our platform to build the skills and confidence they need as they look to enter the workforce or make decisions about their career path."
An example of one of the cybersecurity modules on the Datacom work experience platform is Cybersecurity risk assessment, which takes learners through the steps involved in a comprehensive risk assessment and helps develop practical skills in risk assessment, risk management and security analysis.
In the automation pathway, the student works as 'Process Developer' on a project team that has been tasked with the development of a new mobile app for a client. This role sees them take on the role of managing the project workflow to ensure the project is delivered on time and that it meets the client brief.
Gallacher says the platform is not only designed to provide students with an experience that might see them consider a career in tech, but also provide them with new skills they can apply regardless of their chosen career path.
It also provides a way for Datacom to build its talent pipeline, with top performers being able to apply for the companys Traineeship Programme and potentially their scholarship program.
"As Australia and New Zealand's largest homegrown tech company one of our commitments is to help support and develop the tech talent and digital skills that our local companies need to power their growth and innovation," Gallacher says.
"With this platform were aiming to introduce more people to the breadth of specialisations and opportunities that tech offers, and we want to help grow the pipeline of talent for Datacom and for other companies," she says.
The virtual work experience platform is just one of Datacom's talent development initiatives, which also include an Early Careers programme, inhouse training and mentoring, and work experience and internship opportunities through a wide range of partnerships.
Earlier this year Datacom shared research that showed while 40% of New Zealanders had considered studying for a career in technology, just 5% of students enrolled in tertiary education in New Zealand were specialising in information technology (IT) courses.
The research also revealed some of the barriers and misconceptions preventing more people taking up a career in tech, with 34% of people stating they didn't have the right skills and 22% stating that it seemed boring or uninteresting.
"Providing people with more pathways into tech and more opportunities to learn about the different specialities is a practical way to tackle those misconceptions and show people just how varied and interesting a career in tech can be," Gallacher says.
"All our talent initiatives, including the virtual work experience platform, are designed to build peoples confidence, grow their skills and help them imagine what a career in tech might look like for them."
Datacom's work experience content is being delivered on Forage, the free, open access, virtual platform designed for students looking to obtain practical work experience through company-endorsed programmes, which has had more than 1.7 million student enrolments and hosts work experience content spanning technology and other areas.