Consumer | Cyber Security |

STEM themes to inspire teens at this year’s Wired for Wonder

By Kate Stewart November 22, 2019

We’re helping to inspire the next generation of creators and change makers to explore new ideas and be curious about their career possibilities ahead. ‘Inspire’ was the theme of this year’s Wired for Wonder learning conference and here’s what you need to know about how we’re exploring new ideas with the next generation.

What do you get when you bring together 230 13-16 year-olds, their teachers, technology experts and thought leaders at our Customer Insight Centre in Sydney? The opportunity to engage these young minds with bold ideas, different ways of thinking and the possibilities of what STEM can offer them.

Together with our partner Commonwealth Bank, the day is part of our ongoing commitment to work with students, schools and higher education partners to inspire future generations and build their curiosity in technology.

Here’s what we learned from this year’s conference.

How to make a career in cyber security

Brendan Hopper, CommBank’s General Manager of Cyber Security & Applied Research Centre, spoke about the need for many more people to study cyber security as the use of AI, machine learning and IoT continues to rise.

Brendan shared that kids can gear themselves towards this kind of career by teaching themselves to continually learn new concepts and techniques.

While students always need to be curious about new methods during their education, they always need to remember the guidelines – never break the law or hack without permission! Instead, use good creative outlets like Bugcrowd to learn on real apps.

The world needs defenders, and Brendan is a true advocate for inspiring the next generation to take up the charge.

Discovering your purpose, unlocking your power

Our Chief Technologist for Strategic Accounts, Fawad Nazir, shared a moving and personal story from his youth: growing up in a middle-class family in Pakistan where being the only son meant that expectations on him to ‘succeed’ were high.

Under the weight of these expectations, however, Fawad found that he struggled to succeed in the way his family asked of him. At school especially he struggled, adding that he was “merely surviving”.

Fawad ultimately discovered that being comfortable with being uncomfortable can unlock real change in your approach to life. Watch his talk above to see how he combines his purpose with his belief to yield unstoppable power.

Saving our oceans, three pieces at a time

Tim Silverwood, co-founder and CEO of Take 3 for the Sea explained how his organisation has built a movement to save our oceans.

Our oceans cover 71 per cent of the Earth’s surface and contain 97 per cent of the Earth’s water. But every minute a garbage truck full of plastic ends up in the ocean – equating to 8 million tonnes of plastic each year. Yet there’s a simple way we can all contribute to help fix the problem.

Tim’s organisation, Take 3 for the Sea, inspires participation in simple actions – if each person removes three pieces of waste or plastic from every beach, park or public space they visit they’ll greatly reduce the amount of waste ending up in our oceans.

Tim demonstrated that anyone can be a change maker, even when the problem is as big as an ocean. Small impacts can make a big impact when multiplied.

To learn more about Wired for Wonder, and see videos from previous years, head to their website.

Community | Cyber Security | Tech and Innovation | Telstra Careers | Telstra News |

A second P-TECH school partner to develop future tech talent

By Kate Stewart October 25, 2019

We’re excited to expand our partnership with the Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) program, following the Federal Government’s announcement of a new cyber security-focused P-TECH pilot site at Camberwell High School in Melbourne. We’ve seen this program help the students of our partner school McCarthy Catholic College in Sydney and look forward to giving more students the opportunity to develop an interest and skills in technology.

Jobs in the future are going to be very different from the jobs of today, and with this will be increased demand for skills not traditionally taught in the classroom. Cyber security, for example, is one of the nation’s fastest-growing sectors with around 11,000 additional jobs in cyber security set to emerge over the next 10 years.

It’s therefore crucial we look ahead to the skills and knowledge that today’s students will need in the jobs that await them. That’s why in 2020, Camberwell High School will offer a cyber security-focused P-TECH program to its students.

P-TECH helps technology industry partners like us establish long-term relationships with education providers to give high school students a foundational education in STEM-focused learning. It also facilitates real-world experience for students so they’re exposed to the world of work and can meet role models who’ve carved out their own technology careers. And it provides a pathway to a diploma or degree, and a career in technology. It’s one way we’re contributing to the education of Australia’s future workforce and encouraging more young people to consider and pursue a technology pathway that extends beyond school.

With a focus on cyber security, our work with Camberwell High students intends to provide practical experience in threat mitigation through demonstrations at the school, access to our cyber security specialists to share their experiences and talk about their careers, and opportunities for relevant work placements here at Telstra.


Camberwell High is the second school we’re working with as part of our involvement in the P-TECH program, following McCarthy Catholic College in Western Sydney. We began working with them in early 2018 and since then have given the students the chance to develop their collaboration and design thinking skills during ‘immersion days’ onsite at the school each year. We’ve also held annual Telstra office tours where students visited one of our security operations centres and checked out the latest technology in our Customer Insight Centre. We’ve flown drones together, spoken to students and parents at school subject selection market nights, attended open days and more.

McCarthy Catholic College P-TECH students also recently completed work experience with us as part of their IT-focused studies. The students had the opportunity to work with our engineering and IT teams, and to understand the important role our retail store teams play in helping customers with their services and technology.


Nicholas, a McCarthy student in the P-TECH program, said his time at Telstra was new and exciting. “Day one at Telstra I had the chance to reimage a laptop for the first time and also learn how to enrol a new device on the corporate network. I’m really excited that Telstra partners with our school – access to a big corporation like this is invaluable, from what we can learn to the people we can meet.

“In the past, Telstra has come to our school to show us different technologies and how they work, and is now giving us the chance to do work experience and learn new things. The hot desking here is something I haven’t experienced before – it’s different!”


As an organisation preparing for the future of work, we need to ensure our country’s future workforce is built on a foundation of STEM education as well as essential skills like communication, problem solving and collaboration. We’re excited to work with Camberwell High School in Melbourne to deliver the future-focused benefits of the P-TECH program and we’re looking forward to the expansion of the program to more education institutions and partners across the country in the future.

Business and Enterprise | Community | Telstra Careers |

Where will high schoolers learn the digital skills needed for future jobs?

By Chris Smith February 19, 2018

From the classroom to the office, today’s high school graduates are expected to have more digital skills than previous generations. Christopher Smith, Executive Director Business Technology Services, takes a look at where young people can learn the digital know-how needed for their future careers.

Much has been written about the importance of developing STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills amongst high school students. In a world that is increasingly digital and where even CFOs and CEOs need a basic understanding of cloud or cyber security, digital skills are becoming increasingly necessary.

Schools are adapting to this challenge but with 65 per cent of children expected to be doing work in the future that doesn’t yet exist,* this is an evolving task.

One way schools are tackling this issue is by bringing industry into the classroom through programs like the Australian Government’s P-TECH initiative. Telstra is a proud partner of this program and its goal to boost employment opportunities for high school students. As part of this program we have been working with McCarthy Catholic College in Western Sydney to contribute to the school’s technology curriculum and help students apply these lessons to real business scenarios.

Last week, some of our technology experts at Telstra visited McCarthy College to host a workshop on how technology could be used to ease traffic congestion around the school during peak periods.

The interactive session encouraged students to think about how traffic relates to the broader economy in terms of its impact on supply-chains, business costs and productivity.

Students explored ideas such as installing smart signals to maximise the movement of vehicles as well as the potential of evolving technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve traffic conditions through the provision of real-time data.

Experiences like this help students understand new technologies, develop their problem-solving skills and understand real-world applications.

But learning is an ongoing and immersive process, and beyond the classroom parents can encourage their kids to further develop these digital skills. Here are a few ideas on how this can be done.

1. Online tutorials

The web is a virtual goldmine of resources for high schoolers looking to advance their digital aptitudes. Websites like Codecademy and Code Wars make it possible to learn coding for free, while YouTube channels such as offer web-development focused videos and tutorials. Whether young people possess some existing knowledge or have never typed a line of code before, the possibilities to learn at any level are endless.

2. Coding camps

A more intensive type of digital learning on the rise is holiday coding camps. Already popular in the United States and Europe, these intensive courses teach young people web development and coding skills. For some, learning these skills ahead of others and connecting with like-minded peers, will open the door to new career possibilities and even start-up collaborations down the track.

3. Gaming

Video games can develop young people’s spatial thinking, reasoning, memory and problem-solving skills. For example, virtual world game Minecraft goes beyond entertainment to provide a 3D graphical interface that can help young people understand the basics of programming and telling a computer what to do, while the popular app Angry Birds has now evolved to encompass basic coding principles.

Educational games are also playing a role in the classroom. Telstra Kids, in partnership with Technology Will Save Us, has released a Digital Explorer kit for high-schoolers which allows young people to learn 12 weeks of physical and digital making with the BBC micro:bit (a mini computer). The kit guides users through how to construct physical circuits as well as learn to code three different robots.

Looking for your next career step? See where a career at Telstra could take you.

* Reference: Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn (Viking-Penguin, 2011).

Inspiration | People | Telstra Careers |

Empowering women through technology

By Brie Mason October 30, 2017

Interested in a career in STEM at Telstra? Find the right career path for you.

This year, Telstra was a proud supporting partner of Vogue Codes – a series of events highlighting the ways women can be empowered by technology in their careers.

Through this exciting partnership, our people were given the chance to hear from senior female leaders in the technology space, including our Head of muru-D Julie Trell and Group Executive of Telstra Media and Marketing, Joe Pollard.

Each speaker gave an insight into their impressive careers and shared their advice on everything from why mentorship is important to all women to tips on how to land a job in a technology company.

At Vogue Codes LIVE, Telstra’s interactive personality quiz that gave participants an idea of what career path they could go down.

Here are some of the highlights:

Our Director of Network Solutions, Indirect Channels, Nevash Pillay, says Vogue Codes reinforced the career opportunities that technology offers.

“Technology is enabling all industries to be more effective. Whether it’s retail, health, media or mining … women can be part of this journey.

It was also clear that ‘you don’t have to be an engineer’ to contribute to the technology industry.”

One of the other things Nevash learnt was how to get the right balance.

“It is possible to be a mum, wife and have a career in tech. Technology makes it easier to balance family and work life.”

Joe Pollard speaking at Vogue Codes

Isabelle Page, a 2017 graduate, says it was empowering to hear from such senior female leaders.

“Having the opportunity to attend the Melbourne event was an insightful experience. It was an inspiring day fuelled by the belief that women should be empowered, not deterred by a career in technology.

Joe Pollard (Group Executive of Telstra Media and Marketing) made a thought provoking statement that really resonated with me – what’s the worst that can happen? The majority of women have the skill set, they just don’t believe in themselves.”

Some of our people employees at Vogue Codes Summit

Joe also placed an emphasis on the importance of having a mentor. She herself is a mentor, and the gift she offers to her mentees, is the gift of confidence.”

Advice | Inspiration | People | Telstra Careers |

The way forward for the Next 100 Women in Tech

By Jes Stone-Herbert October 19, 2017

Did you know that 14% of executive roles are currently led by women? While discussions around gender inequality in the workplace have become more prevalent, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.

The Next 100 Women in Tech is a networking event designed to promote and attract females to workplace opportunities in the technology industry while also raising the profile of roles available to them. It aims to assist in balancing out the number of females working in traditionally male-dominated industries through a variety of means.

I was chosen to participate in this year’s event as a panellist and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m passionate about speaking about gender equality in the workplace and I’m actively pushing the boundaries. I know we can correct the perceptions around workplace gender inequality and it all starts with having the right conversations with the right people at the right time.

During the panel, I talked about balance for women in the workplace as well as the perceptions and misconceptions that go with balancing parenthood with your full-time job. I also discussed why gender balance is so important in the workplace. This included what we need to do to make changes for the better, and ensure more equality in future workplaces for the next generation.

Here at Telstra we run a fantastic Graduate Program where we have a strong focus on female talent, and are looking to increase our female intake year on year especially in the technical, STEM-related roles. Our Operations Female Sponsorship programme also helps to promote networking opportunities for our female leaders which will help to create connections across the organisation and open doors for future possibilities.

Events like this are important to help us leap-frog the issues we’re faced with in our workplaces across the country. Telstra’s current female gender representation goal of 35% by 2020 is admirable, but sometimes I wonder about a future where this is higher. Will we ever over-achieve if we don’t aim for 50%? I know this may seem a little ambitious, but as they say, shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars!

These events also provide great networking opportunities and help raise visibility for candidates who are looking to prove themselves in a new industry. I hope that my time there can help make some potential applicants feel confident in their abilities, seek out and apply for a role that suits them, and help in attaining equality for a more balanced workforce.

You can learn more about the Next 100 Women in Tech event where I recently spoke, but if you’re looking for more information on where to start your own career in tech, you’re already in the right place.