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Interns who start here can go anywhere

Telstra Careers Students

Posted on July 21, 2017

7 min read

I work in the CTO, the Chief Technology Office, here at Telstra. I’m part of the Innovation Team responsible for ecosystem engagement and technology evangelism.

Sounds pretty interesting, right? But you’re probably wondering what that actually means. Ecosystem engagement is all about how Telstra connects to a whole bunch of different parties outside the business, to find better ways they can take advantage of the latest technology and even bring new technologies to them that we enable through our network.

I get to work with start-ups, local communities, and universities. Not only can we share our knowledge but we can attract great talent while promoting our own skills in and outside Telstra.

Throughout my time here, I’ve been a mentor for Muru-d our startup accelerator. That forward thinking is part of the reason why I came to Telstra after years of working for some of the biggest technology companies in the world.

I joined Telstra after 30 years of experience and here, I really feel like I can make a difference both in a local community sense and on a national scale with what the company is doing.

There are a lot of industries here and I think we need to be a shining example for other Aussie companies who are looking to expand into the technology and innovation spaces as a clear leader. I think we are on the path to achieving just that with the tools we’ve got and the people we have.

Telstra Labs are leading innovation and there are amazing people doing amazing things behind the scenes to help make it happen.

I’ve been involved with graduates at Telstra since I started and it’s something I’m really passionate about. I know it’s cliché, but students are our future and they bring with them a fresh set of ideas that always challenge our thinking and that’s great.

As a parent of young adults in the twenties and late teens, working with grads is very similar and I feel like I know how to talk to them, know how to keep them engaged. I love being able to share my wisdom and after many years in the business, I’ve got a lot to say. I’ve always wanted to be an active mentor, which I’ve been fortunate to do but most recently I’ve directly managed two graduates as part of our Graduate Program.

You’ll find a range of things to work on that you probably wouldn’t elsewhere. Think of it like sliders or a tasting plate, you get a little bit of everything and that’s the best way to see what you like.

As an intern you’ll get industrial experience and get a feel for what it’s actually like to work in the area you’ve been studying for so long. It often comes as a shock but studying something and working in something are two very different experiences!

Grads and interns come in, they try something out and it’s not uncommon to come off the program with a completely different idea of where you want to take your career. The important thing to remember is that it is your career and no one else can tell you what you want but yourself.

If something has never been done before, there isn’t a template to follow. I can’t think of anything more exciting than that.

During your time here, you won’t just have a laundry list of “things to do”. The workplace of the future doesn’t work like that. Instead, imagine your career like a blank sheet of paper for you to paint and colour as you wish. You’ll get the opportunity to think in creative ways because that’s how we need to think in order to tackle the questions we’re trying to answer.

If something has never been done before, there isn’t a template to follow. I can’t think of anything more exciting than that and we’re looking for people who are equally inspired by this.

Grads and interns form a valuable part of my team. Sure they may have less experience than some of the others, but we don’t expect that here. In fact, that’s part of what makes them so unique. When you’re working on a project for long enough, it becomes all you know so having someone new come in adds a fresh perspective.

As an intern in the Engineering stream, you can expect to work on innovation projects like customer co-creation activities including a one day workshop, a one week sprint, or a multi-week accelerator. Regardless of how long you work on something, it’s the design thinking, the lean start up skills that we apply to projects that’s the real takeaway.

Students who start their careers with us are developing their transferable skills and that’s what helps them be better students and, in turn, help them be more employable. Again, speaking as a father, it’s something I often try to teach my own children as well. How can we make sure you’re job ready when things change so much? Embrace ambiguity, expect change, and be quick to adapt to it.

We focus on the outcome of what we want done rather than how many hours you devote to a particular task. That’s what the future of work looks like where you’re accountable for what you deliver and help make sure it’s delivered on time. Here you’ll get to work with and learn from a whole range of subject matter experts (SMEs) and innovation experts on design thinking, big data, and the like which you can tap into. The challenge, of course, is how you can corral those experts and piece their knowledge together to help you deliver on what you need to.

 

“How can we make sure you’re job ready when things change so much? Embrace ambiguity, expect change, and be quick to adapt to it.”

 

If you’re applying to an internship program, know that you’ll be coming to a safe environment. We’re not here to see you fail; we’re here to see our grads succeed. While there is a tightrope you’ve got to walk, there is a safety net too.

In a lot of ways, it’s about giving interns and grads alike a chance to shine, where they can get opportunities to shine. Whichever skills you bring, you’ll find a chance to refine them and whatever skills you want to learn, you might be able to develop those too. It’s about helping you create your own career and start it off right.

I want someone who can deal with ambiguity as I think that’s the mindset you’ve got to have. It’s okay if you don’t have one already, just come in knowing that your expectations may change and that’s okay.

Part of the reason why I like working at Telstra so much is having an impact on industry and the wider community. I can go have some fun conversations at local unis and that’s a good thing. I also get to take part in initiatives that Telstra endorses like the Telstra Foundation including Code Club and Hackathons, which we’ve hosted here in the Telstra Labs.

But for me what it all comes back to is how I can pass my knowledge on to the next generation of engineers, thinkers, and problem solvers. My career has taken me around the world, joining tech companies just as the internet was starting to take off. These experiences taught me lots of useful things, but useful things are useless unless you have someone to share them with.

If it’s one thing I’ll keep coming back to it’s this: I want to help ensure that young people have a future career in technology and innovation. We have so much to offer, such wonderful upcoming talent and I can’t wait to see what they go on to achieve. Bring your ideas and we can work together to do great things.

Applications for Telstra’s Summer Vacation Program are now open. Summer Vacation is a 12-week paid internship between November and February each year. Learn more about starting your career at Telstra here or more about our work in technology and engineering here.