New ‘Virtual Industry Placement’ program launched to fast-track employment for retraining Australians

Confronted with the reality of being left behind by more digital-savvy rivals, many businesses are looking to rapidly increase their use of digital sales & marketing channels and upscale their use of data. Increasingly, businesses are looking for cybersecurity and data science talent to recruit to remain competitive. 

But during a lockdown, how do you hire staff that you’ve never met? With social distancing and remote work the new normal, businesses need new ways to attract and assess potential talent. 

To address this need, the Institute of Data is this week launching the Virtual Industry Placement (VIP)program as a part of its UpSkill Now! Program with UTS.

The VIP program will assist with the upskilling and integration of candidates into the distributed workforces of Australia’s leading data-led businesses in sectors such as finance, FMCG, health, e-commerce, construction, mining, agriculture and retail.

How will the ‘Virtual Industry Placement’ program work?

Each participating company will have its own unique remote working program with tasks and projects that replicate the experience of working there. Candidates gain practical experience, improve their skills, get a feel for the culture of the company and can include the placement on their resume.

Participating companies gain a pool of eager candidates and can assess the completed tasks to gauge suitability for employment. 

How it works:

  1. Interested organisations register to participate via this link
  2. Participants in an eligible Institute of Data & UTS course apply for virtual industry placements
  3. Once approved, the student begins their virtual placement online with the participating company
  4. Virtual placement length will vary, ranging anywhere from a few days to three month placements, depending on employer requirements and objectives
  5. Students will receive feedback and assessment on their virtual placement or project from both the company and course trainers, along with a digital certificate of completion from the Institute of Data and UTS 
  6. Companies now have the participating students in their talent pool, and students create industry connections whilst building a professional portfolio

The whole process can be done remotely from home, speeding up recruitment and saving time for everyone.

What is the motivation behind this program?

Many businesses that previously did not consider themselves as digital businesses are now adapting to digital-first operations, and data is king in this new world. Every business needs to firstly protect their data and secondly utilise it for competitive advantage.

Whilst some will be starting to build and structure their data, for others further down the track the protection of data is paramount, especially if it wasn’t considered a top priority right from the start.

With many businesses struggling to find the skills needed to achieve these strategic goals, we are seeing the emergence of “two Australias”, according to Institute of Data Executive Director Andrew Campbell.

“Not all businesses are waking up to this reality and now what was already a rapid transformation has been further accelerated by COVID-19. In order to protect your data and use it, you need people with practical skills. Where do you find them? How do you manage and direct them? For many businesses, data is too daunting and they give up, putting them at risk of getting left behind. Other employers are finding that not enough people are coming through the education system with the practical skills required to do the job.” said Mr. Campbell. 

“The VIP program is designed to solve this problem. It provides a constant stream of data talent with practical skills and real world experience in solving business problems. Institute of Data graduates are trained to help businesses define their problems and solve them with the latest tools, whether it be Data Science, AI or Cybersecurity.” he concluded.

Institute of Data Executive Director Andrew Campbell
Institute of Data Executive Director Andrew Campbell

Q1 Group, a specialist cybersecurity consulting firm with over 105 cybersecurity consultants across its offices in Melbourne and Sydney, will be one of the first employers to utilise the Virtual Industry Placements program.

“Whilst Australia at large has tough times ahead, we’re anticipating a surge in demand for our services on the horizon. Our clients are major institutions across banking, financial services, telecommunication and consulting sectors,” said Richard Beaumont, General Manager – Cyber Security & Technology Risk, Q1 Group.

“The shift to a digital-first provision and acquisition model by many businesses will be a catalyst for change across many industries that are behind the curve. Our biggest challenge in meeting this demand is finding the experts we need to service our clients.

“It’s a problem that is often written about, but never seems to garner any real action. With the Institute of Data’s Virtual Industry Placements program, we’ve taken a direct approach to solving the skills shortage in our industry.

“Cybersecurity consultants and specialists will be in short supply – especially those with the right mix of technical skills and experience along with the ability to work in a demanding team environment. We’re looking forward to building these skills and quality amongst the interns and to scaling up to meet the coming demand for our services”

Symbiosis Capital, based in Sydney, specialises in systematic trading using quantitative models derived from Mathematical and statistical Analysis.

“After being hard at work for 2 years developing the business we are ready to expand and part of that is bringing talented data scientists to analyse data and continue to improve our trading models. Finding these talented individuals is a monumental task, but is absolutely critical to our success and growth,” said Symbiosis Capital CEO Samuel Junghenn.

“There’s a marked difference between having a qualification in a computer science field and being able to apply those skills effectively as part of a wider team. The VIP program will help us solve an issue that would otherwise take months or years to solve

“There just isn’t that much applicable talent in Australia we can tap in to – growing and nurturing our own, with the help of their team of trainers, will mean that businesses like ours will scale faster and compete better on the global stage.”

The VIP program is now open for applications from businesses who are seeking to transform and nurture the next generation of data experts. You can register your interest here.

The Upskill Now! Scholarship Program is designed to help applicants manage a career transition into these growing industries. For eligibility criteria and more information applicants visit here.