Jade Moffat, Corporate Social Responsibility Lead, IBM Australia & New Zealand
When I first met Gabriel five years ago, I was introduced to a young, shy teenager with an infectious enthusiasm for all things tech, who happens to be visually impaired. Over the past five years I’ve had the privilege of watching his shyness melt away.
Gabriel is one of five talented P-TECH students that have just been selected for paid 18-month P-TECH traineeships at IBM as they complete their Diplomas of Information Technology.
These are one of the first cohorts of P-TECH students in Australia to go on to paid employment, but they join a global movement that IBM is driving toshift focus of hiring managers from credentials to capabilities.
Developed in partnership with IBM, P-TECH, or Pathways in Technology, is an innovative school model, connecting secondary schools, further education and businesses. It integrates high school and further education coursework, alongside building work-ready skills like good communication, being a strong team contributor and problem-solving. The program is built on a foundation of student mentoring, workplace visits and projects, work experience and paid internships with industry partners.
When I met Gabriel in 2017, he had recently started at P-TECH Ballarat after seven years of home schooling. He joined P-TECH in the hopes of finding a different type of education that supported his passion for tech, built on his strengths and accommodated his abilities. In previous schools he had felt that his visual impairment wasn’t accommodated satisfactorily.
But over the past five years I have watched Gabriel grow from strength to strength through this program. I have seen him interacting intently with his P-TECH teachers at Federation College and I have watched his confidence bloom. He even took on the massive role of keynote speaker at the IBM Think conference in 2019, speaking in front of more than 2000 delegates about his experience with P-TECH.
His involvement in P-TECH sparked his interest in also giving back to his local community. He is a member of both the Ballarat Youth Council and the Central Highlands Youth Advisory Board, and in 2020 he was also selected to participate in the Victorian Youth Parliament. Now he is passionately pursuing a tech career at IBM.
The IT industry in Australia and in many countries around the world is facing a significant shortage in skills. According to the Australian Computer Society, 100,000 jobs in Australia’s IT Sector need to be filled by 2024. IBM’s aim is to make acquiring those capabilities more accessible than ever through programs like P-TECH and traineeships, so that more people can be prepared for success in the jobs of the future – jobs where having the right skills matters more than having a traditional degree.
The traineeships we are offering in Ballarat will provide Gabriel and his peers the skills and an industry-supported pathway to build a strong future in STEM, bringing much-needed diversity of perspectives and experiences to the field in turn.
Supporting P-TECH are businesses and mentors who have taken a hands-on role in opening the world of tech to P-TECH students. Together, we excite young people about their digital future, broaden their belief in what is possible for themselves and give them opportunities they otherwise may not have been afforded.
It’s been a five-year journey seeing these young people grow and change since we first launched the program in Australia. Having the opportunity to positively impact the life trajectory of a young person is powerful – I can’t recall a more rewarding professional experience.
When Gabriel responded to the traineeship offer with “Thank you… wow!”, I was lucky to congratulate him as a P-TECHer, welcome him as a colleague, and I am proud to finally call him an IBMer.
We are always open to adding new mentors or business partners to P-TECH. To express an interest please contact Jade Moffat email@example.com
Jade Moffat, Corporate Social Responsibility Lead, IBM Australia & New Zealand When I first met Gabriel five years ago, I was introduced to a young, shy teenager with an infectious enthusiasm for all things tech, who happens to be visually impaired. Over the past five years I’ve had the privilege of watching his shyness melt […]
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