QLD Govt partners with Microsoft to boost indigenous employment

Microsoft Queensland Indigenous

The Queensland Government has entered into a partnership with Microsoft to help launch the careers of First Nations people seeking to join the state’s digital workforce.

The new initiative, known as the First Nations Digital Careers Program, will support up to 100 placements each year for the next three years over which time participants will be offered paid employment with either a government or private sector organisation while completing study in a digital skills course.

Microsoft said that the program would be launched as a pilot in Brisbane in August 2022, initially offering up to 10 trainees a nationally accredited Certificate III in information technology (IT).

During that stage, trainees will be placed into employment, supported by a mentor and also offered an opportunity to undertake further learning in order to gain on-the-job experience whilst completing their traineeship.

Queensland’s Minister for Digital Economy, Leeanne Enoch, notes that the program aligns with the goals of the state’s Digital Queensland: Digital Professional Workforce Action Plan 2020-24, which aims to create a force of 10,000 new digital professionals within the state and attract “a broader range of people” into the tech sector.

“The vision of this plan is for the Queensland Government and digital industry to position Queensland as an innovative, digitally savvy economy by supporting an additional 10,000 digital professionals by 2024 through investing in skilling, reskilling and attracting a broader range of people into digital professions.”

The Digital Professional Workforce Action Plan 2020-24, which was announced in June 2021, is a part of the state’s $200 million Future Skills Fund, of which $8 million will be directed towards skilling and re-skilling Queensland residents to prepare for an expected surge in demand for digital jobs.

The Plan seeks to establish partnerships with the state’s digital industries and academia and was developed in consultation with educators, employees and business leaders.

At the time of its announcement, the Queensland Government said the Plan would focus on four priorities of areas of investment. Among these include nurturing a digital professional workforce within the state to support social and economic recovery, and widening the digital workforce pipeline by skilling, reskilling and upskilling Queenslanders entering the workforce.

The remaining two priority areas include a further focus on strengthening regional Queensland’s digital workforce and providing strategic leadership to ensure this workforce meets the needs of the labour market, enables businesses to remain competitive, and takes advance of new opportunities offered by the digital economy.