Rachel Bondi
Rachel Bondi Chief Partner Officer, Partner Solutions Group, Microsoft Australia
Nov 10,2020

Skills saver: initiative pays half your trainee’s salary, sets everyone up for success

When the Federal Government announced recently that it will pay half of a new or recommencing trainee’s salary until September 2021, I literally jumped for joy.

The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) wage subsidy programme means that it will be possible for fleet footed companies that sign up for the scheme to take on a Microsoft Trainee for about $16,000 and $28,000 a year – depending on their age and based on standard working hours.

The scheme is capped to the first 100,000 trainees – which is why I’m urging companies to get their skates on and sign up for the program fast.

Demand for tech skills continues to rise – and the acceleration of digital transformation that we have seen through the pandemic as companies transition to new ways of working is likely to see that trend continue for the foreseeable future.

In 2019 there was a 13.7 per cent surge[1] in the number of ICT technical and professional workers in Australia – this is the workplace cohort that includes software programmers, graphic and web designers and telecommunications technical professionals. It means that there are now more than 317,000 people working in these sorts of roles across Australia.

Finding people and building skills is a priority for most businesses which is why our Microsoft Traineeship Program is designed to support budding IT professionals as they take the first step in their career. We’ve just had the first graduate complete that program and I’m delighted to say that he’s been snapped up by our partner Sensei.

To date we have placed more than 120 trainees with 60 Microsoft partner and customer organisations across Australia. We’re on track for an 80%+ completion rate – and with this new BAC initiative I’m pitching a moon shot to get 500 new trainees into the program.

Stuart Kilduff the CEO at oobe has had a great experience with the Microsoft Trainee Program. Seven trainees have been signed up with oobe and Kilduff describes some as “mini tornados” of activity and enthusiasm – shifting his thinking about the impact trainees can have.

He’s been very happy with the standard and diversity of people coming through the program, the way trainees engage with staff internally and how they help create positive experiences for clients.

There was some scepticism at the start that people might end up “babysitting” trainees he admits. But it’s proven quite the reverse; “Most of the staff have done a complete 180 and started their own extra mentoring activities.  As I was leaving the office one night, I found the trainees with one of my team in a meeting room – on their own time – working through network subnetting. 

“They are now really part of the team and not only participate in client engagements they are actively joining in on social activities as well.  It has been very uplifting for all of us to see and experience such a successful outcome.  Having come from a trade background myself I’ve always been disappointed the lack of options for people to enter the industry as opposed to more traditional trades.  This program is normalising the entry to a career in the industry.”

Now the BAC subsidy makes this even more attractive. Our Trainee Program is delivered in association with education specialist MEGT and it is offering to pay participating organisations the BAC subsidy at the end of each month – ahead of the Government’s quarterly payment.

I’m really proud of the impact this trainee program is having around Australia, I’m proud of the commitment that trainees are putting in, and grateful for the support of our partner organisations who are now reaping the skills rewards as the first graduates emerge and are snapped up into great jobs.

I really urge you to get in touch with Beth Worrall to learn how you can get involved as soon as you can – those BAC places will go fast.

[1] https://www.acs.org.au/insightsandpublications/reports-publications/digital-pulse-2020.html