SPONSORED: Australia’s IT industry is rapidly growing. An estimated 20,000 jobs in IT are being created in Australia each year – with only an estimated 5,500 IT graduates coming from university.

Due to this demand, MEGT have proudly partnered with Microsoft Australia to deliver the Microsoft Traineeship Program – a program that aims to close this skill-gap and provide an alternative pathway for those looking to take their first step into a career in IT.

Trainees are placed with Host Employers and complete a Certificate IV in Information Technology, Microsoft certifications and paid work experience over two years.

MEGT is an established non-for-profit organization that has been supporting employers, apprentices, trainees and job seekers for over 30 years.

MEGT’s vision is to provide training, education and employment services that make a positive difference and to ensure these services are accessible by all Australians, with focused programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

No prior technology experience is necessary for the Microsoft Traineeship, only a willingness to learn and passion for the industry.

Geoffrey Frost, with family ties back to the Wiradjuri Nation, was one of the first Aboriginal trainees to join the Microsoft Traineeship Program.

He was placed within the Digital Sales team at Microsoft Australia as part of the two-year paid work experience program.

While he is a very avid video gamer and tech enthusiast, Geoffrey says he is most passionate about the sharing and preservation of Aboriginal culture and knowledge.

“I was fortunate enough to recently meet an Indigenous entrepreneur, Mikaela Jade, at an industry event where she was showcasing her Njulgang Mini Digital Custodians project, in partnership with Microsoft.”

“One of her messages which resonates with me is that ‘Everyone, everywhere, has knowledge, has history. And all they need is the opportunity, the means, and the medium to share and preserve that history and knowledge.’”

“Throughout the Microsoft Traineeship program, Microsoft, MEGT and my manager and peers have encouraged me to be actively engaged in industry events where technology can further the sharing and preservation of the Indigenous culture.”  – Geoffrey Frost, Microsoft Trainee

After 6 months of practical experience with Microsoft – we couldn’t be more pleased to share Geoffrey’s experience so far – and what he’s learning in his new role today!

Q: Why did you decide to apply for the program?

I had previously tried to apply for jobs and all of them required second year university degrees, as well as 3+ years full-time work experience at tech companies. I figured this was my best chance to get quite a lot of on the job training while getting another certificate as well.

Q: What are some of the highlights of the program thus far?

The amount of resources and knowledge I’ve received is outstanding. At the beginning, I was sceptical about asking questions. Now after a few months, I’m at the stage where I’m comfortable asking questions, and everyone, no matter what questions I ask, are always happy to set aside time to explain anything in-depth and in a more personalized manner. Having access to ask questions of those in the field, not just my teacher at TAFE, is very helpful.

Q: What programs/events have you been involved in to engage the Indigenous community into the IT industry?

I have taken part in quite a lot of Indigenous programs and networking events, such as the partnership between Microsoft and Indigital where I got a glimpse into the projects that both companies are investing in to conserve the recording and sharing of digital art.

Another event I attended was an Indigitek seminar focused on cybersecurity and its application towards the storing and sharing of digital art. Through these events, it’s been great to learn that the IT community, have a focus and emphasis on engaging with the Indigenous community.

Q: What advice would you give to other candidates/students who are looking to pursue a career in IT? What advice would you give to Indigenous candidates?

I would highly recommend applying for this program. Also, do some research and just be aware of all your options first, because a full-time university degree is sometimes not required at all to go forward into a career, be it IT or any other job field. Rather a traineeship is a great way to get experience and education at the same time.

We welcome all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to apply for the Microsoft Traineeship program.