Later this year we will open our Innovation and Capability Centre (ICC) in Bangalore, India. This centre will bring together talented Telstra and partner employees who will work on some of the world’s biggest technological challenges in areas like the Internet of Things, Networks, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

To successfully deliver our T22 strategy, we need to invest in critical capabilities such as network and software engineering and automation to enhance our competitive advantage and continue to meet the needs of our customers.

We’re taking this step because Australia currently does not have enough people skilled in these areas to enable us to recruit at the scale and level we need. Australia had around 1,200 new software engineers in the last 12 months and we are competing for those skills with every employer in Australia. To give that a global context, India produced around 44,000.

Our CEO announced today that we are committed to working with government and industry partners to explore building a bigger technology talent pipeline within Australia, for the overall benefit of the nation.

While we have plans to build and develop this technical capability here in Australia for the future, to meet our immediate needs, we’ve taken our search across the world to identify the right location that will give us access to the talent we need now.

While countries such as Vietnam, Singapore, Israel and US (Silicon Valley) provide niche and smaller scale opportunities, India produces a large number of graduates annually in the capability areas we need such as Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and Data Analytics.

We intend to initially recruit around 300 employees in the ICC, across both network and software engineering, with a view to growing this in coming years. We will also continue to recruit across all of these capabilities in Australia.

And we’ve chosen Bangalore, also known as India’s Silicon Valley, with its high concentration of skilled technical talent so we can harness the energy generated by working in close proximity to other significant technology companies such as Apple, Google and major IT services players.

Creating an ICC in India also gives us the opportunity to embrace a start-up mentality. Our ICC will be a centre of excellence, using the latest ways of working like Agile, Lean, DevOps and Human Centred Design. And we’ll encourage the best of Australian and Indian cultures and working practices – for the benefit of our employees and customers in Australia and internationally.

This mentality, coupled with years as a successful global telco, means our people will have the opportunity to work on innovative projects that help to connect our millions of customers, and the communities in which they live, around the world.

I look forward to sharing updates on our Centre’s innovative achievements in the future.