One of our internal aims as a company is to have a minimum of 10% of our staff as graduates. It’s something we’re really proud of and we always look forward to our annual intake. We started the Graduate Program in 2003 and have so far helped around thirty former IT students become certified consultants and six students from other disciplines begin careers in marketing, accounting and HR.
When our current IT graduates started with us in July 2012, the expectation was for them to be working at client sites by the end of the year. Pleasingly, some of them already are. From an outside perspective, a transition from University to consultant in six months may seem quite rapid - and perhaps it is - but we like a challenge. And it seems the graduates do too.
We feel it’s the perfect time to push their knowledge levels up quickly. The reason is that if graduates come straight out of a learning institution, be it a University or TAFE, they’re often in a good mindset to continue learning. When you’re in a full-time role it’s often difficult to set time aside to learn new skills outside of your daily tasks, but if you’re used to a ‘learn and test’ environment the transition is much easier. That’s why one of the first things our graduates do is a Java certification - something that’s fundamentally a continuation of their education, just in a more practical environment. This is fairly representative of the first few months spent with us - an opportunity to take basic skills and theory, enhance them and apply them to real-world situations. It’s an apprenticeship of sorts.
One of the main rewards of this system for our graduates is fast progression - we don’t believe in people ‘doing their time’. Because of this the skill set of our graduates increases quickly, as does the remuneration they can command. We provide opportunities and guidance and the level of success is placed squarely on the shoulders of the individual. If they’re prepared to work hard and achieve, they’re rewarded for it.
In the past, people have asked us why do we go down the graduate route. Granted, rather than spending time training and skilling people, we could just go to market and hire developers that already have the skills. But we think training and development is indicative of our company culture.
We’re always reviewing new software partnerships to ensure understanding of new methods of practising software development. We distribute TECHtips and have an internal learning portal, as well as a training room at Head Office. We also have a dedicated R&D team that the grads join to ensure practical exposure from day one. Our staff are encouraged to view their career as a business and to always seek new skills that might help them do their job better. To achieve that, we understand that work must be made stimulating and full of new challenges.
At a recent workshop, one of our directors was asked for a metaphor that described GLiNTECH. What they came up with on the spot was a river delta. It’s perhaps a slightly unusual reference, but it works. People join us and we send them on a journey - the metaphorical river - offering guidance, assistance and challenges. But we acknowledge that, at some point, the end of the river will be reached and they’ll have to decide whether to stay or head out into the wider world. That so many choose to stay with us is always heartening and suggests to us that we’re on the right track.
By taking a pragmatic attitude and actively encouraging our consultants to develop, both personally and professionally, our clients in turn respect us for the quality and skill we are able to provide them. And when that happens, everyone wins.