Please indicate if your Initiative is an Established Initiative.
Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
Founder | CEO
John E Collins
Co-Founder | VP of Product
Overview - Provide a summary to introduce the project or initiative
Our mission is to deliver innovative ways for employers to discover and connect with talent and help individuals of different backgrounds to build and gain relevant experience and secure employment. We believe that the traditional resume is inadequate and doesn’t allow young professionals to present the many modern sources of their real experience. This is why we offer students and graduates opportunities to showcase a more diverse set of experiences in a meaningful way.
Paddl Games are intense, rewarding, competitive, fun, creative and highly engaging events that immerse participants in design thinking techniques to ideate, conceptualise and, ultimately, solve real commercial problems or opportunities for host employers. Participants from in TAFEs, RTOs and universities, from a range of qualifications and cultural backgrounds are allocated to diverse teams to participate in a Paddl Games Challenge. We also offer a simple, way of connecting students and graduates with relevant employment and internship opportunities. We are currently working new functionality in our platform that will revolutionize the way experience is gathered and showcased. Our team is highly diverse with 15 staff from 9 different countries and 65% female team members! We regard diversity as second nature. We regularly create activities to celebrate our diversity and actively seek diversity in all that we do. We go the extra mile to attract the best talent from anywhere in the world and support their applications and employment with us by offering visa processing and flexible working arrangements.
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?
Paddl Co. prides itself on being innovative in all we do. We believe that at the core of being innovative is having diversity - of people, of thought, experience and backgrounds. We live this every day in our business, in the way we build our product and services and in the way support our users. This commitment and belief sits well in the sectors in which we work - the education sector and the employment sector. Education institutions actively attract international students from all over the world to study and live in Australia. Being an international student in a foreign country is not easy - to live, to connect and network, to study and to work. Paddl’s contribution to making international students’ time in Australia a rewarding one is helping them build experience profiles that make them attractive to Australian employers for employment whilst in Australia and highly attractive to employers when they return home.
Enterprises, including corporations and governments, also benefit from diversity of thought in how they innovate new products and services. Paddl Games makes the process of engaging with a highly diverse group of students, graduates and employees easy and productive. New ways of thinking are encouraged and supported be it in how applicants for employment are sourced, assessed and employed or in how enterprises advance innovative thinking in their product and service development via a Paddl Games challenge.
Paddl Co. is passionate about removing the (often unconscious) bias from the hiring process, especially for emerging talent, by giving employers the tools and processes to surface the very best person for the job irrespective of background, education or social circumstance.
In the tech space there are more and more initiatives emerging from a grass-roots level as examples, ‘Code Like a Girl’ and ‘Girls in Tech’ that are doing wonderful things for encouraging young women into the field of technology. Paddl strives to support the broader talent community as well as influence change from a corporate level down to ensure there are opportunities for a growing and evolving talent pool.
Detail the approach that was taken to implement the project or initiative, what actions were taken and why?
We start with the premise that there are amazing, talented people in all walks of life and designed a process to allow them to shine. We believe that such people are to be found everywhere - regardless of location, backgrounds or gender. This is especially important in today’s world where the word “local” is now often replaced by “global.”
We wanted to democratise ‘opportunity’ making sure that everyone had a chance to pursue their professional dreams. To support this we have set about building a new way to capture experience and employment in paddljobs.com and in the services that support these endeavours in paddlgames.com. Profiles on paddljobs.com support individuals in showcasing all of their experience as modern professionals are gathering more and more outside the categories of ‘education and employment’ such as attending conferences, reading, online research and personal projects.
Jobs in Paddl ask applicants to complete challenges giving them the opportunity to show ‘what they know’ rather than ‘who they know’ and are then Shortlisted by the Employer based on their scores. Paddl Games are 1 to 3 day events that provide the ultimate challenge for Applicants and create an environment where they can showcase their talents rather than how well they interview or may present on a traditional resume.
We apply the same approach internally with our team. We are very proud of the fact that our team has members from 9 countries with very diverse cultures from Spain to Sweden, Slovakia to Taiwan.
Sadly much of the tech industry struggles to engage women in their organisations. 65% of Paddl’s team are women including senior leaders and software engineers. We believe that our open, collaborative environment, equal opportunity, pay and benefits for all staff may contribute to this however if you ask Paddl’s Founders they will say, “We have simply hired the best person for the job at each opportunity.”
Our CEO, VP of Operations & Finance and Head of Strategic Partnerships are females.
We embrace diversity as a part of our team culture and vision, in regular team meetings and activities. We have not sought to run a diversity programme, diversity for us is just normal business practice and as a consequence diversity “happens” in all spheres of our business and engagement with others.
Demonstrate the leadership shown in driving the initiative and fostering behavioural and organisational change.
Our initiative is driven by a strong belief that we need to change the traditional ways of how talent is hired and assessed and to provide guidance to talented people find it difficult to get relevant experience or don’t have the opportunity to do so.
The key parts of the process involve:
The way we widely promote Paddl Games events to all educators (including universities, TAFEs, colleges and RTOs) across all faculties and schools that are relevant to the focus of the opportunity.
We create diverse teams made up of participants with a broad spectrum of skill sets, backgrounds, educators and experience so that a team has all the skill sets they require to tackle the challenge at hand.
We encourage participants to be creative in the way the explore problems and opportunities engaging all members of the team - everyone has a contribution to make.
We create unique assessment opportunities for employers so that they can assess talent based on what they can ‘show’ they can do, not just describe what they think they can do.
Most of the participants highly value the opportunity to showcase their skills in real time scenarios. A crucial part of our philosophy is to diversify the way talent and people are assessed - unless interviewing and writing a resume is a part of your job, it is unfair to assume everyone should be good at it.
We are still evolving but we are beginning to make a difference. In less than three years we have managed to:
Secure major Australian companies including : Metro Trains, Canon Australia, Australia Post, AGL Energy and the ABC as clients adopting this new way of engaging with emerging talent.
The participants of Paddl Games have claimed that the opportunity we have given them is completely unique and different to anything they have experienced before - opening doors to a world of new and exciting possibilities.
Some examples of our participant feedback:
“Empowering. The challenge gives you an environment where you have the power to create a change in the way things are done by providing a real solution to a real problem. The feeling you get after this empowerment is unbelievably fulfilling.”
Giuliano Pessotto, Bachelor of Commerce / Bachelor of Laws, University of Wollongong
“The Canon Hack Challenge surpassed all of our expectations and highlighted the wealth of home grown innovation and talent that exists in Australia. It inspired all those who participated to think and act differently, proving that the seemingly improbable, is indeed possible. It’s a credit to the students, the people at Canon and those that made it possible at Paddl and Edgelabs.”
Gavin Gomes, Director, Canon Business Services
“I was really impressed by how much each of the groups, made up of University and TAFE students, took advantage of the Canon Hack Challenge, to build something really impressive.”
Simon Spencer, CEO, EdgeLab Ventures
“I got to learn design thinking and went through each phase of the process. The learning experience was extraordinary. Absolutely memorable for me.”
Nhi Huynh, B of Engineering (Hons. Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics, RMIT
“Definitely a great experience for me as a student. Paddl gave me a chance when no other organisation did. I wasn’t harshly chosen for the job based on my resume or grades. The experience gained is now one of the many badges on my resume.”
Fahim Al Jahangir, Master of Data Science, La Trobe University
“Paddl is doing so much work for students and increases their confidence.”
Gurpreet Singh Aujla, Master of Engineering ( Electrical Engineering), RMIT
“Felt really good to be part of an innovative project, To work towards an objective within a short span of time in a team of diverse people was a real challenge.”
Dani Vimalesh, Master of Information Systems, Swinburne University of Technology
“Great experience from the first day. The Paddl team was so supportive throughout our journey and everything we needed was there for us.”
George Karamboulis, B of Engineering (Advanced Manufacturing and Mechatronics, (Hons), RMIT
“I’m grateful to Canon and Paddl and for this experience. I was put in an environment where we were properly guided to succeed. Our ideas had the support to come to life because of the diverse group of people coming from different backgrounds and degrees. It was also really helpful to have Natalie who is someone from Canon and Aiden and Ryan, our technicians being there to ensure our ideas, product and presentation were on track”
Renz Jericho Hernandez, Bachelor of Commerce, Macquarie University
Was there organisational/industry or other resistance to the initiative? If so, detail the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative.
Because we push talent assessment out from HR and back into business teams, some companies aren’t sure where the budget should come from. We packaged our offering under ‘Innovation’ to get cut through and incorporated a short interviews with HR to bridge old and new methodologies.
Some companies believe they are ‘already doing this’ by regarding hackathons as talent assessment but can’t see their internal bias has already been applied to who they have invited or attracted to them. With the support of our early adopters such as Metro Trains and Canon with whom we organised the earliest stages of Paddl Games, we have proven that great talent can come from anywhere and a neutral and inviting place like Paddl Co. opens the door to a broader range of talent.
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?
Since the launch of Paddl Games in October 2017, following a successful pilot with Canon Australia in May 2017, we have continued to grow the business We are currently preparing 5 major innovation challenges for 50 SMEs, 300 students and graduates and 200 employees all from Victoria in 3 regional centres and 2 in metropolitan Melbourne. This project is designed to upskill small business in innovation and digital skills, provide work experience and employment for the students and graduates, and surface innovation for the sponsors.The $750,000 project is supported by the Victorian Government, COSBOA (Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia) and is supported by, sponsors including Australia Post, AGL Energy and Canon Australia
Metro Trains Australia and Metro Trains Melbourne have engaged Paddl to manage an end to end innovation and talent discovery project enabling over 100 diverse students and graduates from universities and TAFEs in Victoria. This has involved 3 major projects from ideation, validation and trial of innovative ideas surfaced at these challenges. The Trial - is developing and testing a personal safety app for rail users.
Additional projects with Metro are breaking new ground in both innovation and talent discovery.
Canon Australia continues to support Paddl Co. and its innovation and talent discovery methods and will lead and fund one of the major Paddl Games days in the COSBOA Innovation Games (Victoria) in October, 18. This follows the success of the original Paddl Games in May 2017, which has lead to employment outcomes for participants and IP creation of a new product for Canon that now has 20,000 customers!
Australia Post has undertaken a proof of concept project with Paddl to employ two new people into their highly sought after graduate program, which will incorporate a Paddl Games challenge as an alternative to the traditional assessment process.
AGL Energy is using Paddl Games to connect local businesses and emerging talent in the COSBOA Innovation Games (Victoria) and to support SMEs embrace innovative solutions for energy conservation and use.
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.
Scott Reimers - Business Startup Manager - Metro Trains
Phone no. : +61 427 820 611
Scott Reimers is the Business Startup Manager of Metro Trains and has been actively co-organising all stages of the most extensive Paddl Games challenge we have held so far - three stages of idea and project development involving diverse groups of local and international young people from different TAFEs, RTOs and universities in cooperation with the Metro employees to solve a real business problem and provide a feasible solution. Following two previous successful stages of ideation and validation, the project is already in its third and last one - where a group of young students from highly diverse cultural backgrounds, gender and degrees have designed a Trial of a proposed app test its effectiveness as a discrete personal safety reporting app while travelling on public transport. This trial involves 100 rail users and over 250 Metro employees. .
Metro Trains has enabled over 100 diverse students and graduates gain invaluable experience in being part of designing a solution that may benefit hundreds of thousands of rail users.
Gavin Gomes - Group Executive Director - Canon Australia
Phone no.: 0419 403 529
Gavin Gomes is the Executive Director of Canon Australia, which organised a Canon Hack Challenge as one of the major Paddl Games initiatives. The challenge featured 30 students from different TAFEs and universities who were presented with a task to find a solution to a customer service issue, build a prototype and pitch to judges, all within 48 hours. It was backed by Canon to deploy and embed the winning solution from the Challenge in just six weeks, to deliver a step change in customer experience and productivity. The product now has 22,000 customers and Canon has employed 8 of the participants.
Aniket Gamre - Metro Scratch Space Challenge and Skunk Works Participant - RMIT University
Phone no.: +61 422 204 975
Aniket worked as a project assistant at Paddl Games Metro Scratch Space Challenge and Metro Skunk Works Paddl Project. He started his studies in India and his journey in Melbourne started with pursuing a Business Master’s degree at RMIT University. During his experience he worked with 15 people and using design thinking techniques delivered wireframes to the Metro innovation council to improve user experience journey of public transport users in Melbourne. His intensive experience with both challenges led him to consider Paddl to be a unique platform that connects the dots for students by giving them skills and experience which is required in today’s workforce. He felt that as an international student, it becomes challenging to gain local experience and he feels fortunate for being a part of an initiative which allowed him to gain valuable experience and demonstrate his skill set to a number of relevant contacts.
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?
Paddl Games activities benefit all stakeholders.
Students have gained employment either directly via Paddl Games challenges or have used the Paddl Games experience as validation of their job readiness when applying for roles.
Participating employees have gained unique mentoring and leadership experience and taken the opportunity to practice their own design thinking techniques and thinking. Metro Trains, has now implemented a 3 year innovation program that is designed to engage employees, emerging talent and key stakeholders in new ways of thinking, working and hiring. Paddl Co. will be a key partner in the execution of this strategy.
Many of our employers are discovering that by using our modern methods, they are opening their doors to a broader talent pool and therefore surfacing talented people they perhaps never knew existed.
Participating employees of host companies are exposed to working with multi-skilled, multi-cultural teams improving their own management skills and experiencing the benefits of diverse thinking.
The concept of diversity plays a part in the whole philosophy of Paddl Co. but is most distinct with Paddl Games, our most innovative series of cooperation with major Australian companies which has already brought significant business and growth related results.
Internally we see the overwhelming benefits of having a diverse team everyday. Our people bring different perspectives to strategic conversations, international market knowledge, insight from different socio-economic backgrounds but most importantly they contribute to an environment of openness, compromise and collaboration.
Paddl Games events to date.
- Avg. 57% International Students.
- Avg. 33% female.
- Avg. 31% with qualifications 'below' a University Degree.
- Avg. 29% have obtained further employment with host companies.
Many Australian corporate graduate recruitment programs have processes that take between 3 and 24 months and typically target the top 1% of Students from the top 3% of Educators. These programs can cost up to and above $1.2M for host companies per year and 16-25% of participants dropout in the first year.
The statistics outlined above are taken from Paddl Games events that were run over 1-2 days and are priced at a fraction of typical graduate programs delivering massive cost and time savings for employers and a diverse and talented hiring outcome they have previously been unable to achieve.
What do you consider your significant achievement with this Initiative and why?
We are proud to witness that the Paddl Games initiative has already positively impacted the lives of our users in truly meaningful ways - we are supporting and fast tracking their leap from education to employment. The level of professional experience and connections that our participants are gaining are making them more employable.
We have received positive feedback from users who feel that they have finally been given a chance to “shine” and demonstrate their skills and potential irrespective of gender, background or qualification.
Our employer clients have expressed gratitude for providing them the opportunity to access a diverse spectrum of talent and keep coming back for more.
We are very proud that our team come from 9 countries, and are 65% female (including half of the engineering team) and are lucky to share such a wide range of thought, culture and perspective in our Melbourne HQ.
Paddljobs.com has users from all around the world and we encourage our support staff to use their native language when communicating with users with from their home country. We even have our native flag emojis next to our names on staff tools.
Who inspires you from a diversity perspective? Who provides leadership in diversity and why?
We are inspired by organisations and employers who embrace diversity simply as good business and not necessarily as a set of criteria.
The FYA (Foundation of Young Australians) are actively providing educational and professional opportunities to disadvantaged Australians.
Australia Post with their diversity and inclusion program https://auspost.com.au/about-us/corporate-responsibility/our-people/diversity-and-inclusion which celebrates diversity in every aspect of their business.
Diversity is part of our DNA. Our work and experience as Paddl employees has been enriched by having people from around the world contribute to our mission. It comes from an intrinsic belief that experience is more than your employment and education history embodied by Co-Founder John Collins who dropped out of University to start the journey that led to Paddl Co.’s creation. John is leading the team towards an open and innovative mindset in all areas - cultivating the idea to improve the way experience is evaluated and measured. Our ethos of ‘best person for the job every time’ has naturally resulted in Paddl Co. being a multicultural team of talented people, with female employees in both senior (CEO and HoD) and technical (Engineering) roles. Similarly, our CEO Dominique leads the company with an open and diverse approach to achieve the same goals.
As more and more business is moved online, the idea of a ‘local marketplace’ is fading away. People are no longer looking for ‘the best in their neighbourhood’ and are now looking for ‘the best in the world.’ This means to be competitive, all sectors, businesses and most importantly people, need to embrace the idea of true globalisation and therefore diversity. It starts with the respect and understanding that amazing people can come from anywhere and to build a world class team, there is no room for prejudice or preference. We need people from around the world because they have invaluable experience to bring to our thinking and sometimes the ‘best person for the job’ is not going to be who you think it is.
This submission was drafted by Lucia Gajdošová - a Paddl Co. Team Member who has joined as The Paddl Experience Cadet - a unique starting role which enables her to engage in a range of tasks across all areas of the business. Paddl’s Founders designed this role to support young professionals in finding their feet and discovering their passion within the Paddl Family.
Lucia highly appreciates the opportunity to get hands on with different tasks at once and is enjoying exploring where she may best apply her talents in the future.
Lucia moved to Melbourne 6 months ago from Slovakia and has been amazed by how culturally diverse Paddl Co. is - this fact encouraged her to apply for the role as she was excited by the prospect of working for a company that was focused on skills and opportunities for people to grow and develop irrespective of their background or qualification.