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Telstra Careers |

How we’re upskilling people for the future with micro-credentials

By Rebecca Holden November 9, 2020

We often talk about how education – particularly short, targeted skill-building courses – will help plug major skills gaps in the Australian workforce. As a large employer in Australia we’re playing our part in giving our employees – and the broader population – access to new micro-credentials to help build their technology skills. Most recently we’ve done this in partnership with the UNSW Canberra Cyber centre of excellence.

What are micro-credentials?

Micro-credentials give you a globally recognised qualification in just 6-8 weeks. They’re an innovative alternative to longer, traditional degree programs and we’ve been advocating for an increased focus and investment in these credentials by government, industry and education providers.

Exponential changes in technology and the impact of COVID are driving radical transformation in the skills needed by Australia’s workforce. This means we can no longer have a ‘set-and-forget’ mindset to learning and education. We all need to take advantage of every opportunity to upskill or reskill to continue to be effective in this rapidly changing environment.

We estimate that people will need to rebuild their skillsets up to 15 times throughout their career to keep pace with this level of change. This new reality calls for ‘agile learning’ – a just-in-time approach to skills development to get people ready to take on their next challenge. Micro-credentials are an absolute game changer for this type of rapid learning.

So far, more than 800 members of our team have completed a micro-credential, to build their skills in this new and agile way in areas like software defined networking, product management and data & analytics. We co-develop these micro credentials with our university partners like UTS and RMIT Online, usually within 12 weeks – this incredible pace means we can respond quickly to our evolving learning needs. And the fact they’re completed online gives accessibility to all, irrespective of where you’re located, and also means they’re available to the public through the universities. We’re really proud Telstra can play a broader role in helping to build critical technology skills for our broader industry and community.

Our most recent micro-credentials are in the area of cyber security and were co-developed with our partners at UNSW Canberra Cyber. These two credentials – Security Fundamentals and Secure Code – will help build more of the capability we need to combat the increasing risk of cybercrime that the digital economy brings.

We’re also working on how we can influence the vocational education and training (VET) sector to build a framework that would allow students to ‘stack’ micro-credentials to build a modern qualification. This would increase the affordability and accessibility of industry relevant qualifications for more people.

Hands on with micro-credentials

Stephanie Virgato works with us as a Network Engineer, and was one of the first to do the machine learning course we co-developed with UTS.

She tells us that being supported in her job to attend classes during work hours was a “huge bonus”.

“The pacing of the course worked well, with a good balance of online interactive sessions and course material. And while the final assessment required some extra weekend work, overall I was able to manage the course quite easily alongside work,” she says.

“Our instructor helped build engagement and collaboration and encouraged us to put our new skills into practice to drive outcomes.

“By the end of the course I was familiar with key machine learning algorithms and I’ve used this knowledge to help build a new method to manage data in our cloud performance management system. We’re already seeing positive results and will be using this new process to make the system more robust.

“The next step will be to expand the use of machine learning in other areas, including predicting when faults might happen so they can be prevented,” Stephanie adds.

It’s important we continue to support our people who, like Stephanie, want to build their knowledge over time. By supporting a multi-faceted approach to upskilling, we’ll be well equipped to tackle the ever-evolving needs driven by emerging technology and the digital economy.

Advice | Business and Enterprise | T22 | Tech and Innovation |

Rethinking your learning and career development

By Alex Badenoch February 3, 2020

On Friday I spoke at a CEDA event about the human value in the future of work. This is an important discussion to have as we often hear about digitisation and automation taking away jobs, when in fact it’s not so clear-cut. Because automation is also causing a shift to more complex and value-add work. And as technology evolves, new roles – some you’ve probably never heard of yet – are being created.

What is often left out of the conversation about the future of work is that human skill and capability will become more valuable than ever. What now needs to change is our approach to learning and career development.

The currency of the future and why you need to invest in it

Skills and capabilities are fast becoming the currency of the future. To be a well-rounded worker of the future it won’t be enough to have skills in technology – however basic they may be. You’ll also need to be intellectually curious, and use design-thinking, creativity, and communication skills to bring innovations to life. And you’ll need to be collaborative and highly adaptive as the way we work evolves.

Learning mostly used to be ‘set-and-forget.’ Once you got a degree or diploma you would enter the workforce for a lifelong career in the same industry or profession. But as technology and ways of working evolve so too does the need for lifelong learning. Complacency will not be rewarded.

Significant skills development will be needed every 3 – 5 years. Of course, it’s not feasible to step out of the workforce to undertake a traditional degree. So we need to shift our mindset to continuous learning – and doing so in bite-sized chunks will be critical to ensure our skills remain relevant.

Individuals certainly have a responsibility for investing in their development and ensuring their skills remain competitive, but so too do employers.

What we’re doing at Telstra to develop our people’s skills for the future

In this financial year alone we’ll invest more than $25 million in training, with more than 3,000 people picking up a new skill. That’s more than 10% of our workforce. This training covers three key areas: technical skills, customer skills and professional skills.

This builds on the significant investment we made in training during the first year of our T22 strategy to transform Telstra. This included an Agile Essentials program for around 15,000 employees to understand the fundamentals of Agile at Telstra, and was followed by more in-depth training for specific Agile roles. We also put our people leaders through a one day program so they’re better equipped to lead their teams in different ways.

Some of this training we’re running in-house. But we’re also partnering with universities to co-design and run micro-credentials in critical technology areas such as data analytics, cyber security and software defined networking. These 6-8 week programs are recognised externally and are designed to upskill our people in areas complementary to their current jobs so they’re better equipped as the skills needed for those roles evolve.

Beyond these formal programs we’re also helping our people understand the concept of continuous learning and providing easy access to short ‘just in time’ online learning modules they can access at any time as part of their regular development.

Rethinking what a ‘successful’ career looks like

Like many people I started my career in a world where I saw progression as moving up through the hierarchy in my chosen field. But as workplaces transform, the way we think about career progression – and our expectations of what a ‘successful’ career looks like – also needs to change.

Alex Badenoch spoke at a CEDA event about the part human value will play in the future of work.

The traditional, linear career path where one works their way up the ‘corporate ladder’ will still be available. But this will no longer be the norm as organisations become flatter and new ways of working like Agile are adopted.

Career progression will become more about broadening your skills and experience through lateral moves, and increasing your ability to take on work with higher complexity and impact.

A Mobile Network Engineer, for example, might move into a Mobile Product Design and Development team to deepen their understanding of what drives value for customers and help them build the commercial insight that’s so critical in strategic technology decisions.

This will not be an easy mindset shift for many who view success through their level and title in an organisation – and we’re very mindful of this.

So we’re focusing on creating a clear and compelling view of what a career at Telstra can look like and helping leaders work with their teams to tailor development plans and build the necessary skills and capabilities we need into the future.

In the short term this will involve redefining job descriptions so they’re less about a role’s span of accountability and control, and more about complexity and the level of expertise and skill.

Longer-term, we’re looking at using technology to help us make internal mobility simpler and more transparent.

All of this is to say your skills and capability will become more valuable than ever as technology evolves. It’s up to us as individuals to understand what this means and invest in our career success through continuous learning and taking advantage of opportunities to broaden our experience through increasingly more complex and impactful roles.

But more broadly, businesses, education providers and government also need to work together to develop technology talent for the future. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we’re trying to take simple, tangible steps to build a talent pipeline for our benefit – and the benefit of Australia. We all need to test and learn together – because if we’re idle or wait for a perfect solution it will be too late.


Read more about Telstra’s university partnerships to develop future technology talent.

From intern to full-time: how we’re helping Indigenous students find their fit
Advice | Community | Inspiration | People | Sustainability | Telstra Careers |

From intern to full-time: how we’re helping Indigenous students find their fit

By Kylie Fuller November 20, 2019

We have just welcomed 16 talented and driven Indigenous university students who are joining us this summer for the CareerTrackers internship program.

Every summer and winter, we aim to onboard new interns as well as welcome back some familiar faces returning for another experience. Over the next three months, our interns will be hard at work in different areas of our business.

Since 2015, we’ve partnered with CareerTrackers – a national not-for-profit organisation that aims to create paid, multi-year internship opportunities for Indigenous university students in Australia.

This partnership is part of our 2019-21 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), in which we’ve committed to increasing our CareerTrackers intake to 20 per year for the next three years to help improve the participation of Indigenous Australians in the workforce and develop future talent.

We’re committed to continuously building a strong pipeline of diverse early career talent, and this program is a means to help Indigenous students find their career fit and gain work experience relevant to their degree – with the aim of developing them from interns into our graduate program or full-time employment once they complete their degrees.

We asked Kirstin Shaw, one of our past interns who is now a full-time employee, to share her experience on the CareerTrackers program at Telstra and her career journey since then.

Kirstin’s story

I’ve been at Telstra for almost 5 years now, and have loved every step along the way, from Customer Advisor to Intern, to Summer Vacation Student to Graduate, and then a permanent role! My career started before CareerTrackers came along – I applied for a casual role in a Telstra store, and the leads I worked with were always extremely supportive of my ambitions – this supportive culture led me to look at Telstra as a long term career choice.

I grew up in Mackay in North Queensland and began studying a double degree in Law & Accounting online at Central Queensland University while working part-time at a local tax firm. When I moved to Brisbane, I moved in with a friend whose brother worked for CareerTrackers and that’s how I found out about the program. They provided me the academic support and direction I was really lacking.

The community was like nothing I had ever experienced at home – it allowed me to learn a lot about myself and my culture and connect on a deeper level. Seeing others from backgrounds like mine succeed made me realise I could do a lot better than I was.

What area of the business did you rotate into, and what did you learn?

My first internship was in Service Delivery in Enterprise in 2016. I did 4 weeks in this team and this was enough to cement the fact that Telstra was the right fit for my early career.

I applied for the Summer Vacation program and accidentally ticked a box confirming I’d relocate to Melbourne instead of staying in Brisbane. I got a position which was in Melbourne – I had never been before, knew no one here, but was determined to make it work.

I spent those 12 weeks in a Small Business Sales team attending customer site visits, investigating customer non-payment causes and NPS. After this I was accepted to the Finance Grad program, which saw me permanently move to Melbourne – ticking that box in 2016 is the best mistake I’ve ever made! I completed three rotations in Commissions Finance, Group Compliance and Supply Chain Operations – each rotation was very different and allowed me to build different skills.

I’ve now rolled off the grad program into Group Internal Audit, which I’m loving – there are always new things to learn and different parts of the business to dive into. I’ve had fantastic support along the way from our people – namely, store leads, Grad leads and the Indigenous recruitment specialists who always supported me to follow my passions.

The highlight of CareerTrackers was earning my Gold Diary – an award for students who maintain a distinction average. Coming from a place where I didn’t know what a GPA was, this was a huge achievement for me and something I may not have been motivated to do without the community’s support.

What would you say to other Indigenous students who are looking at applying for the CareerTrackers program with Telstra?

Give it a go – what do you have to lose? It just may be the best decision you ever make. Being a part of CareerTrackers was a driving force for my success at university and into my early career. Get yourself a mentor and learn as much as possible.

Be strong about where you would like to see your career take you, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself.

Sharing parental leave and maintaining a career
Inspiration | People | Sustainability | Telstra Careers | Telstra News |

Creating equality for new parents

By Alex Badenoch July 1, 2019

We’re relentlessly committed to diversity, inclusion and flexibility. This includes helping our team bring their whole selves to work and having the flexibility to balance their professional and personal lives.

Our Diversity and Inclusion strategy takes a holistic view of diversity – we will listen more, prioritise fairness and promote opportunities for under-represented groups within our business.

And now we’ve changed our Australian parental leave policy. The bottom line?

We want every parent, regardless of gender, to be able to share caring responsibilities while maintaining their career.

Removing boundaries, prioritising fairness

This change removes the distinction between primary and secondary carers, which are often linked to traditional gendered roles. Now, any eligible parent who has been with us a year or more can take up to 16 weeks of paid parental leave within the first 12 months after their child’s birth or placement. Secondary carers previously received two weeks of paid leave.

There’s also more flexibility in how this leave can be taken. Parental leave can now be taken in one block or multiple blocks, and can be used to return to work on a part-time basis as needed. This is in addition to our All Roles Flex approach that helps our people manage their work and life in a way that works for them.

Equal and shared parenting enables better gender equality in the workplace and reflects our changing society where both parents contribute to caring and family commitments.

This change is already having a positive effect on the lives of some of our people, and it’s being welcomed and supported by many others. Mike and Yvette are two examples.

Mike Bowers, Senior Product Specialist

New father to twin girls born in May 2019.

I think this is a major step in the right direction for gender equality. As a company I think we want to challenge gender stereotypes and this speaks volumes.

As first-time parents embarking on the challenge of caring for our beautiful twin girls, I was faced with a dilemma – be a great employee or be a great father. Before the new policy, I was looking at taking annual and unpaid leave so I could support my wife and family; I can now take some of that leave as paid. It makes me proud to work for a company that takes such a strong stance and really makes me want to give back to a company willing to give to its people during such a special chapter in their lives.

Yvette Sraga, Head of Programs – Principal

Yvette and Liz have shared the primary carer role for their three kids – Poppy (8) and twins Ava and Jacob (4).

I’m very proud of Telstra for challenging the gender stereotypes relating to a primary carer. This is a great step towards ensuring equal opportunity in the workplace and acknowledges the crucial role that both parents play in early childhood development.

In our situation, if both our employers had paid parental leave with options on how to use it, it would have not only removed a lot of pressure, but also would have allowed us both to bond closely with our babies during those precious first 12 months equally.

Commitment to fairness

We want to be the best place to work for all. Today, that means making it fairer for all new parents.

Our new policy of offering 16 weeks of paid parental leave for all parents puts gender equity front and centre. We want our people to bring their whole selves to work, and fulfil their most important role at home.

This change is initially available to our team members in Australia and we’re working to equalise our policies across our international locations.

Cameron Young - Product Marketing Senior Specialist - Flexible working at Telstra, working at home with his young son
Inspiration | People | Telstra Careers |

Flexing big for World Flexible Working Day

By KL Lambert May 22, 2019

Today is World Flexible Working Day. It’s a day to challenge the mindset that work can only be done in the confines of a formal office setting. Flexible working is all about giving employees the choice to change their arrangements so that work can fit in seamlessly with their lives.

We introduced our ‘All Roles Flex’ approach in 2014. This approach recognises that flexibility will mean different things for different people. For example, it may mean working part-time, working outside normal 9-5 business hours or working from different locations.

We encourage our leaders to manage flexible working by checking in with their team members regularly to see what’s going on outside work. And we encourage our people to take a guilt-free attitude to flexibility, because it improves productivity, engagement and results for our customers.

From Yeppoon to Yatala, Ballina to Caulfield – Telstra has flexible workers all over the country.

Meet three of our flexible working champions who have changed their working times and locations. These changes have been made possible through the support of our leaders, as well as a continuous focus on flexibility, technology and connectivity.

Cameron Young

Parenthood is a challenge and for first-time father, Cameron Young has been able to be there for his wife and son and still complete his work requirements

Parenthood is a challenge and for first-time father, Cameron Young has been able to be there for his wife and son and still complete his work requirements.

“Working flexibly wasn’t something I truly valued until it became available to me,” Cameron said.

“I’m able to support my family with time at home, both planned and short-notice, without missing a beat or lowering my productivity.”

Cameron works as a product marketing senior specialist in Telstra Enterprise. He sees the benefits are not exclusive to working from home. He says he can seamlessly co-locate with stakeholders both inter-floor, inter-office and internationally. All the time maintaining productivity while on the move with minimal disruption.

“I’ve fully embraced the tools and structures that allow us to work flexibly, and I’m proud to be part of an organisation that has availed this style of working,” he said.

Nicola Reeves

The Byron Bay hinterland is a dream holiday destination, and Nicola Reeves from the Telstra Sponsorship team has made it her permanent home

The Byron Bay hinterland is a dream holiday destination, and Nicola Reeves from the Telstra Sponsorship team has made it her permanent home.

Moving from Wollongong 18 months ago, Nicola shifted north and took her role with her to the Ballina office.

Nicola believes she has a much more rounded perspective of the organisation since making the move.

“The thing I love about working flexibly is that you get to work with and meet a whole bunch of Telstra people that you wouldn’t otherwise,” she said.

And her job remained the same given the technology Telstra offers.

“The video conferencing is essential. So much about communication is non-verbal that if I couldn’t see people when I was talking to them it would be much more difficult.”

Moving north has given Nicola a more balanced life and she says it has given her perspective to reflect on things.

“I find that I am far calmer and less reactive as a result,” she said.

Mark Oberman

Cancelling his commute and getting back two hours of daylight was key for Mark Oberman in deciding to work more from home than the Brisbane office

Cancelling his commute and getting back two hours of daylight was key for Mark Oberman in deciding to work more from home than the Brisbane office.

As part of the Telstra Global Partner Development team, with a specific focus on partner delivered professional and managed services, his role is not geographically focused.

“Being a self-confessed workaholic, my wife moderates my work hours directly,” laughed Mark. “I am more productive, as I am not distracted by activities around me.”