As any employer knows, the struggle to find good talent isn’t new. However ‒ thanks to rapid digitisation brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, extended border closures and a growing skills shortage ‒ it seems that familiar battle has entered a critical new era. Finding employees with the skills to meet the dawning moment is, well, daunting.
Unless you know where to look.
“It feels like we’ve found this amazing channel of people and I don’t want to tell anyone else because it’s great for us,” laughs Deirdre McIntosh, Senior Director, Workforce Planning and Execution at consulting company Avanade.
That channel? It’s the work of Generation Australia, the local arm of global non-profit organisation Generation, which currently operates in 16 countries. Launched here in 2019, Generation Australia’s mission is to help build careers for people who are unemployed, underemployed or need to upskill or cross-skill through education-to-employment programs.
One thousand learners in three years
In its three years, Generation Australia has trained people for roles in the care and tech sectors and last year began partnering with Microsoft to offer 12-plus week Azure cloud computing courses in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra; data analytics and cyber security courses will follow later this year. At their conclusion learners are offered paid internships in businesses and from there often full-time employment.
“We’re driving towards having 80 per cent of learners placed in employment within the first 90 days. That’s our North Star metric,” says Dylan Turnbull, head of partnerships and business development at Generation Australia.
To date, approximately 1000 learners have undertaken a Generation Australia program; many will go on to ease the demand for tech workers – the Tech Council of Australia estimates that to reach a goal of 1.2 million Australians working in tech jobs by 2030, the country needs to fill 653,000 new positions.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has deeply affected the community and Australian economy,” says Paula Matthews, Chief Learning Officer at Microsoft, which supports the work of Generation right around the globe with essential in-kind resources.