Please indicate if your Initiative is an Established Initiative.
Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
Telstra BTS (Business Technology Services) team worked on the project initiative lead by Karen Gee, GM Capability, and other leaders (sponsors from senior leadership team), team managers and technology specialists as coaches and peers as support buddies. The program also worked together with internal stakeholders (e.g. Telstra Careers, HR, Org Design, Global Learning, Finance and Commercial Office) and partners (e.g. mainly ACS as an industry partner and vendor partners such as Lynda,com, Pluralsight, Palo Alto Networks, f5 and Cisco).
The Telstra BTS Academy program and team is led by Karen Gee, and included Academy team members (Associates and Analysts) as 54 new starters, together with a number of leaders, coaches and buddies across the teams supporting the learning & development program.
Executive Director - Business Technology Services, Telstra Enterprise
General Manager, BTS Capability
Overview - Provide a summary to introduce the project or initiative
As organisations look to digitise their business, they are increasingly seeking integrated solutions for their network, security and cloud infrastructure, as well as advice on how to implement and manage these. Telstra recognises that, as demand for these services increases, the industry needs to develop the specialist skills required to deliver them. Telstra, through the creation of an Academy program, is actively attracting and developing future technologists.
Business Technology Services (BTS) Academy is a three year Telstra talent development program. It seeks to build soft skills such as customer-centric and multi-disciplinary approaches, as well as innovative and collaborative working practices, presentation skills and design thinking methodologies. The program also requires candidates to make a quantifiable contribution to the business and to enhance their future job prospects by achieving specialist technical accreditations. Successful graduates can expect to progress their careers as security or networks specialists.
The Academy is also highly reflective of workforce diversity across gender, culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD), technical skill sets and professional backgrounds. This includes both domestic and international work experience as well across age groups.
There were 29 candidates in the Academy’s first intake in 2016 and 25 in the second in 2017, with over half from CALD backgrounds. The male to female ratio increased in the second intake, from 24% female staff in intake 1 to 40% in intake 2, with both groups coming from a wide range of technical and professional backgrounds. The ratio from CALD backgrounds also increased to 66%.
How would you say diversity is embraced within your organisation or sector? Are there diversity initiatives in place or are diversity approaches new to your sector?
Telstra has long been committed to Diversity and Inclusion in all its forms. We set and report on measurable objectives and have a range of company-wide initiatives in place. Many of these initiatives are designed to increase female representation, including the Gender Equality Shortlist Procedure.
BTS Academy aligns with our overall Diversity and Inclusion strategy and is focused on one of the key priorities - women in technology. We offer graduate roles in areas under-representative of women such as ICT technical engineering. In fact, women comprised only 28% of all ICT workers in Australia in 2016, compared to a 44% female representation across all professional industries, according to Australia’s Digital Pulse.
Participants involved in BTS Academy are supported by networking and mentoring opportunities through internal grassroots groups like Brilliant Connected Technical Women, formed by Diversity and Inclusion advocates across the BTS business who are actively engaging, educating and empowering professional, intelligent and influential women by connecting them with each other.
Detail the approach that was taken to implement the project or initiative, what actions were taken and why?
The BTS Academy’s approach to technical training and certifications is tailored to the needs of both the individual and the business. For example, the career aspirations of each employee are balanced with a mandate to help BTS achieve its strategic business plan.
The Academy’s technical training and certifications includes Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundations, Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), Palo Alto, Splunk, f5 and Juniper focusing on networking and cybersecurity, and take account of industry ‘better practice benchmarking’ by leveraging the ACS and the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA).
The Academy has designed the learning and development program to assist new talent with progressing their ICT careers to become network or security domain specialists within the BTS organisation. During and following the program, graduates from the Academy join the BTS workforce to deliver innovative and customer-centric technology solutions.
The Academy also complements Telstra’s existing Graduate Recruitment Program, with a dedicated focus on increasing and supporting employee diversity, transitional pathways from alternative careers and non-traditional technical backgrounds, in addition to the traditional ‘campus to corporate’ career pathway.
Demonstrate the leadership shown in driving the initiative and fostering behavioural and organisational change.
Telstra’s Executive Director of Global Business Services, Christopher Smith has led our diversity initiatives with enthusiasm and passion, encouraging the participation of his senior leadership team. Christopher is also a member of Telstra’s initiative Men’s Responsibility for Gender Equality in the Workplace, campaigning for the participation of his male colleagues, particularly over internal channels such as Yammer (our enterprise social media platform).
Chris’ leadership has inspired participation across the BTS organisation, particularly from our grassroots technical communities. As an outspoken advocate for Diversity and Inclusion, Chris has also leveraged our Telstra Exchange platform to publish blogs on the topic.
See Chris’s blog ‘Why industry needs to play a greater role in shaping our education system’
Was there organisational/industry or other resistance to the initiative? If so, detail the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative.
The BTS Academy was first socialised as a new strategic pillar under the Fitter and Faster initiative, a Telstra business simplification program initiated to addresses complex legacy systems and processes and to leverage innovation to become quicker and more efficient. This initiative provided the forum for the program to submit its business case and achieve internal sponsorship, support and funding. After a number of submissions, funding was approved for a first round intake as a pilot program.
There was some initial resistance to the Academy’s introduction of a fresh approach to recruitment, learning and development, as well as talent management. However, with internal sponsorship of the Academy as a change initiative and the active participation of the leaders, the challenges related to introducing a new program have been overcome.
Detail the follow up or response to the project or initiative by the organisation /industry /sector. For example has it been extended for a further year, or has the scope been expanded?
The BTS Academy’s first intake completed the initial six months of the program and graduated in April 2017, with 24 students successfully transitioning to roles within the BTS security and networks services teams.
The Academy subsequently received funding approval for a second intake in July 2017, at which time the security and network services scope was expanded. Funding endorsement for a third intake was then received in June 2018, and the recruitment process will commence shortly.
In the future, the program may also be broadened to include collaboration, application and project services competencies, which will provide pathways in expanded technology specialist domains, along with project management and business analytics. The Academy’s success has also been incorporated across the organisation to help evolve Telstra’s Early Careers program by leveraging the Academy approach for any future talent initiatives.
Please provide 2 references being the beneficiaries or people that experienced the change (as a result of the initiative). Details to be provided should include:
4. Phone number
6. Short description (up to 250 words) of association with the nominated diversity initiative eg as a beneficiary, experiencing the outcome, etc.
NAME: Veronica Roodt
ORGANISATION: Telstra, BTS Academy (intake 2)
PHONE: +61 400 108 577
ROLE: Technical Associate, since promoted to Technical Anlayst
See Veronica’s blog ‘How Business Technology Services Academy helped me find my career focus’
NAME: Brandon Ditcham,
ORGANISATION: Telstra, BTS Academy (intake 1)
PHONE: +61 451972625
ROLE: Technical Associate
See Brandon’s valedictorian’s speech from the first team graduation
BTS Academy – Graduation on 28th April 2017
Valedictorian speech - Branden Ditcham
When people ask me what the Academy is all about I always struggle giving a concise answer. What is the Academy? If you asked every single person in this room today I think you’d get a different answer every time.
For Michael the Academy is about supporting learning and development activities so we can fully transition into the Telstra workforce.
For Anh it’s about identifying your weaknesses and turning them into strengths, learning business acumen and developing a habit of networking and branding.
For Mokhles it’s as simple as making a difference.
For me The Academy is Australia. “dramatic pause* I know – deep right.
India, Mauritius, Vietnam, Kuwait and New Zealand. We are diverse.
Programmers, Engineers, Managers, Technicians and Designers. We are skilled.
Technology, security, networking and consulting on the cutting edge. We are aligned.
A skills shortage. We are problem solvers.
We are diverse, we are skilled, we are aligned and we are problem solvers. We are Telstra.
Before I worked at Telstra I was a manager at a fast food establishment – a job that I began for the sole purpose of paying for schoolies trip. For those who haven’t done it, it’s a week on the gold Coast that costs about the same amount as an African Safari except you can’t remember any of it and the highlight of the trip was surviving – it’s basically Valhalla for 18 year olds.
To be plain it was a pay check – I had no real interest in further Academic study after high school and my plans for the military didn’t align with the responsibilities I had at home. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, all I knew was that stuffing chickens wasn’t it – although I’m very good at it.
About five years ago after making a cheeseburger for the thousandth time I decided I was sick of being comfortable – in fact I decided I never wanted to be comfortable again, ever – for the rest of my life. I ask myself “what’s something that moves fast and will keep me moving for the rest of my life, and more importantly – how do I get there?”
For those of you who don’t know, before the Academy I had completed a Bachelors in Games Design. I always get two reactions when I tell people that, one is “Oh like Candy Crush, where’s your Yacht mate?” and the other is “my condolences, do you have a GoFundMe page?” However opinions aside I don’t regret it for a minute. Games Design for me is the epitome of cutting edge, it moves fast, it’s volatile, extremely competitive and maybe a bit unforgiving, but more importantly it’s a sector driven by passion and so is ours.
My favourite games designer is a bloke that goes by the name Greg Street. He’s worked on a bunch of big titles but one of his most notable is Age of Empires. If you’re a 90’s kid and you remember Cheez TV you’ll remember playing Age of Empires after grabbing it off the front of a Nutrigrain box and if you don’t you missed out.
But Greg Street wasn’t always making games which had a worryingly adverse effects on Australian childhoods. He started off his careers as a Marine Biologist. One of the most successful games designers of all time was studying sea creatures before doing what he does best. There is no shortage of brilliance if you know where to find it.
That to me is what the Academy is all about – giving people that are passionate, people that are sick of being comfortable, people that want to be on the cutting edge a chance to excel regardless of their background.
What outcomes have been achieved against overall program or organisational performance? Using metrics specify these outcomes, for example financial, growth, policy achievement, performance or capabciltiy uplift?
This diversity across gender, cultural heritage, non-traditional career paths and wider professional skill sets encourages BTS teams to explore more innovative solutions by leveraging the broader, holistic and real-world experiences of their colleagues and peers. This delivers better, integrated outcomes for our diverse domestic and international customers, as well as demonstrating the BTS executive leadership team’s support for increasing diversity.
From a metrics perspective, the Academy program, including the first intake (who have been with us for 18 months) and the second intake (having celebrated their 12 month milestone), have made a significant contribution to the BTS business, including but not limited to:
• 50+ action projects, including productivity and efficiency improvements
• 100+ customer engagements
• 30,000+ billed hours to customers
• $3.6m+ in earned revenue
• 260+ vendor certifications
• 35 industry accreditations (28 certified technologist & 7 certified professionals, ACS)
As a performance-based program, staff have the opportunity to be promoted at 6 month and 12 month milestones. Across both teams promotions were achieved by 68% of staff, including 28% who were promoted at both milestones.
Capability uplift of skills and compliance to roles have been tracked and measured using the SFIA skills framework with ACS – the professional association for Australia’s ICT sector.
Overall, this represents an incredible achievement in 18 months.
What do you consider your significant achievement with this Initiative and why?
The outcomes achieved for the initiative have been significant for;
• Our Program – demonstrated through tangible results
• Our Business – diversity improvement, contributing many benefits including bottom line results
• Our Customers – leveraging new ways of working, innovative approaches to problem solving
• Our people – recruiting and rewarding talent, uplifting skills and capability, improving engagement.
Who inspires you from a diversity perspective? Who provides leadership in diversity and why?
The Academy participants are an inspiration. Their personal stories, experiences and diversity, together with their resilience and ability to immerse themselves in the Academy and grow beyond their comfort zones is truly amazing! For instance, some of our employees have young children, or are separated from their families while studying long hours, balance their personal life commitments, in order to build knowledge and progress their careers. Their energy and drive to realise their own strengths and potential provides motivation to our team every day.
Referenced here are a few snapshots of their stories:
Kavneet’s video, see http://chiefshare.chiefentertainment.com.au/share/dTV90fzFfdeTXLZ9c1ScrCji13ZilWxx/XhqiL8pNjoxQ
Also original blog
Ramandeep’s video, see