WHAT I DO
My organisation; Test-Ed transforms young people between 18-24 so that they break through perceived limitations to learning and get employed in their dream careers.
DOES IT REALLY WORK?
These young people I’m training get their first jobs making over $60K without University degrees, no debt and taking no more than 16 weeks. Here are some examples…
When I first met Malcolm, he had just spent two and half years of unpaid laboring work, because his family and disability service provider didn’t believe he was capable of more. Malcolm has mild autistic spectrum and a lifelong dream of working in IT. Out of fear of discouragement, he kept his dream hidden from his family including his studying at TAFE and completing Certificates 2 and 3 in Digital Media and IT. After completing his training, today he works as a Quality Engineer doing automation testing in APIs and UI for Qantas. A few weeks ago he shared with me that if it wasn’t for our training program, he would have committed suicide. That what made a world of difference for him was for the first time being recognised and treated as intelligent. His family is proud of him now.
John came from two generations of parents who had never held down a full-time job. He was different, he wanted to a job and he wanted it in IT. He was extremely shy and work placement programs put him into factory labour, believing that would be the level of his capability. He’d keep his head down when he spoke and because he wouldn’t look at you, the IT support role that he wanted was considered out of the question, by educational and recruitment professionals around him. I offered him the chance to learn how to communicate before his working day began and he left his home at 5.30 am in the mornings to come to be coached in handling people and technical issues. One week after his training with me, he landed a full-time technical support job with Tyro Payments. The ‘professionals’ were speechless.
Brendan (like so many in school) was bullied, had anxiety issues and attempted suicide as a youth. With the help of a friend, he turned himself around and later came across our program at Test-Ed. He had always loved everything to do with computers, coding, testing for the unknown and found that our methods for learning really worked for him. Today he’s got a full-time job working for Fairfax Digital as a Test Automation engineer.
WHY DOES IT WORK?
I and other switched on recruitment professionals know that Australia and New Zealand does not have a youth unemployment problem. What we do have is a youth unemployable problem!
I believe that problem has come about because of a mismatch between education and the market. Our education system was designed in the industrial revolution around a factory process framework. On top of that, the current business models of Higher Education have revenue streams that are based on course duration; i.e. the longer a student stays the more they pay so there is no incentive to pare back bloated or irrelevant content.
Test-Ed challenges the status quo of what it means to be educated – particularly around higher education. Our new education model involves training unemployed youth, (usually marginalised), in Code, Test and Enterprise skills for various software development related roles in High Tech’ companies.
And we train them for free for 12-16 weeks. Our graduates have competed and secured roles usually reserved only for degree qualified candidates in major companies like Suncorp, Fairfax Digital, Tyro and others. And we’ve placed these trainees in roles within 1-4 weeks of completing their training. How many universities can claim that?
What if, all young people could spend considerably less time in University, be better skilled, little to no debt and get a job a few weeks after course completion?
I care and others care too, Atlassian, ex-Googlers, Fairfax Media, Suncorp, SafetyCulture, Tyro Payments, Testing Times (See community page of https://test-ed.com.au.) Industry professionals from these companies train and coach our youth in their technical, enterprise and quality engineering skills or trial them for jobs in their organisation.
And you can join this community of supporters too and help us build momentum. Our plan is to scale up and train 60 plus young people this year and 180 plus next year. If you are inspired and want to be part of the community, I want to connect with you. Help me provide an alternative path to young people to jobs in high calibre companies without entering into debt, wasting time and bring value to their IT community.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
We need companies trialing our trainee graduates for roles. Suncorp gave us a go and was astounded. They ranked my graduates on their internship trials as outperforming the university grads they hosted at the same time. These young people could skip Suncorp’s graduate entry program, saving Suncorp months of training and upskilling time. They offered half of our trainees roles in their organisation.
TEST-ED AND GOOD TO GO
Understand companies hire our trainees not out of charity but because they have hard to find skills both in code, quality engineering, and enterprise skills.
Our young trainees are worthy of help as they bring value to the young and growing IT community – the Start-Ups. Test-Ed trains these young unemployed Australians for free, but they, in turn, provide free test and coding services for the IT Start-Up community thus helping Sydney’s young IT sector grow and hence making more jobs available for others in the future.
In the process, the IT Start-Up community provides a wonderful learning environment since Start-ups have no time, no patience, no money, no administration, continually changing. That means trainees learn in a state of chaos. Perfect. It provides real-world challenges in enterprise skills and firsthand experience in running projects end to end; client meetings, analysing business requirements, specifying and designing solutions, coding, testing, support and finally reporting.
Placement fees from mature companies provide us the ability to continue to train and provide free training to the youth to support these IT start-ups. As do profits from our commercial training courses.
Let’s repeat that Test-Ed not only provides free training to the youth but helps Startups grow. As they grow they employ more people, hence they make more jobs. Our youth so far have exposed security breaches that would allow an entire database to be downloaded of client tax information, safeguarded a job portals revenue stream by identifying the disengagement problems of their users, identified serious issues in a game that overheated phones, discovered how to gamify an app to get free money, did an Accessibility project that should have taken 4 weeks in 4 days for Australia’s oldest newspaper chain…
Test-Ed trainees bring value.
WHY WE DO IT
The ‘why’ behind the passion I and others I include in my community do what we do, is in our core beliefs:
• We believe in a debt-free education for youth. When you put young people into long-term debt you put a millstone around their neck and the family that supports them.
• We believe ‘Limitation’ is not an impediment to placing youth into IT jobs historically belonging to degree-qualified only. We make that point by training the ‘least’ in a community; those impacted by poverty, abuse or attitudes of prejudice to disprove outdated methodologies and attitudes current in higher education.
• We believe in relevant intelligent education. We accelerate students into the IT job market by active engagement in the start-up IT community, the wider IT market and training the young people in relevant, current skills.
• We believe that humans learn and work best as part of a community. We’ve seen youth benefit from adding value to the IT Start-Up community, by creating personal connections, first-hand experience, pride in work well-done and understanding how businesses work.
• We believe that people are happier when they get to work out what roles fit them best. We’ve seen that many real-world insights and varied experiences are required for youth to find the career that best fits their talents, passion, and nature. When people are in the roles that match their nature, skills, and talent – they are happy. Happy people equals happy communities.
• We believe in the need for the ability to play well with others. We’ve seen that frequent opportunities to practice soft skills need to be integral in youth education in order to meet the challenges of the future economy.
WHAT AM I DOING NEXT
By the end of 2019, I want to have trained 240 young people AND put them into work. If you want to disrupt how we educate young people, for the better, connect with me on firstname.lastname@example.org.