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It's Academic for Telstra Business Technology Services

It seems like only yesterday when coming straight out of the school certificate in 1981, my dad told me it was time I got a job, a real one.

To this day I consider myself lucky to have secured an apprenticeship with Telstra (just renamed back then from the PMG to Telecom Australia) and with my son this year graduating from high school and looking to also move into technology at university, my mind is obviously shifting already to what he will do when he graduates next time around.

A job, combined with moving out, is high on the list of desired outcomes and I was excited this week to see announcements about our new Business Technology Services (BTS) Academy.

Launched recently in Melbourne, 29 new staff - a mix of uni graduates, some from TAFE, and others already in the industry, joined our BTS team on a three year program where they'll become either Security or Networks specialists looking after our major business customers.

The learning and development focus in the program uses the 70:20:10 model used by Telstra and many other global organisations. About 70 per cent on the job experience; 20 per cent leveraging others; and 10 per cent formal training including e-learning, online training, hands-on, workshops, labs and certifications.

The first six months in particular has an intensive plan covering training with 'campus to corporate', professional and technical training and certification requirements and on-the job hands on experience, along with performance reviews and rewards through to graduation.

The Academy roles (Technical Trainee or Trainee Analyst) have a six month probationary period, and on successful completion includes graduation and a move into the BTS Security Services or Network Services business teams to continue the learning and development journey through the next few years (and beyond) to develop professional talent into a world-class Engineering or Consulting technologist.

I have really enjoyed recent LinkedIn posts from Telstra Sales Executive, Cate Furniss, on the value of diversity in IT with our first intake including seven females (24 per cent) in what is often a male-dominated field, we've also seen a diverse spread of multi-cultural and multi-national backgrounds. According to Cate, board member for Females in IT and Telecommunications (FITT), gender-diverse work teams demonstrate superior team dynamics, encourage greater innovation, improved team performance and better bottom line results. Being more inclusive when recruiting makes really good business sense.

Talking to Chris Smith, our Executive Director of BTS, he was enthusiastic about the potential of the initiative with plans already in train for even a bigger intake in early 2017. "We need more Craig Mulhearn's - talented, but also younger, fitter and (if possible) easier to look at.

Ha, no seriously...Telstra needs to attract and develop great talent to keep ahead of our competitors, especially in the areas of Security and Networks, where technology is evolving so rapidly. The Academy is a long-term investment by Telstra in its people, and in Australia's technology future"

I am not sure my son would be overly impressed with my hands-on approach, but I've tagged him for the BTS program a few years from now. What better way to replace me with a younger, fitter, better looking and thankfully taller version of myself.

For more networking go to Telstra Exchange.