Continuous learning and diverse thinking: Distilling the upsides of an ICT graduate programme

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During the first two weeks, the participants will attend seminars and presentations on the different ICT fields, and during the last two weeks, they can then work on areas that interest them.

“These two weeks of classroom training takes them through the basics of IT support to project management, delivery, devops, scrum...everything,” says Bhatia.

The participants will be assigned a mentor during the next two weeks, where they will be working as paid interns.

This way, according to him, participants will get to know the organisations and the organisations get to know them as well.

Bhatia explains at the end of the four weeks, the organisation can extend the internship or even offer jobs to the good candidates.

He came up with the idea of this programme as he says he always finds it hard to get skilled people, and this gives an opportunity for an ICT graduate to learn and work in different areas.

“We know we can bring these good calibre people up to speed in our organisation.”

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Such programmes must ensure that graduates are not treated as cheap labour and given tasks and projects that other permanent staff are not interested inAbinesh Krishan, Potentia

A roundup of best practices - and caveats

“In a talent and skills shortage market, a graduate programme, if well-established and facilitated, will provide an excellent and continued pipeline of new talent into an organisation,” declares Abinesh Krishan, client strategy director at Potentia.

If well structured, graduate programmes can provide an excellent seeding pool for career progression and succession planning,” adds Krishan, who also chairs the Victoria University of Wellington Masters in Information Management Advisory Board.

“These graduates respond to well-structured induction and learning and development opportunities and through immersion can help in redefining organisation culture, as they are extremely open to learning new ways.”

He further summarises what makes successful graduate programmes.

Each graduate also has an internal mentor and go-to-person-to-seek-advice and provide continual feedback.

“Lack of continual feedback is the most significant issue as neither the graduate nor the organisation benefit from lack of such constructive feedback,” he explains.

He also advises making sure the graduates have access to all services, benefits, and opportunities as the “normal staff”.

“Such programmes must ensure that graduates are not treated as cheap labour and given tasks and projects that other permanent staff are not interested in.”

The graduates, after all, expect that the tasks and projects they are involved in are meaningful and contribute value and are aligned to the organisation’s strategic plans.

He cautions against providing a static working environment for the graduates.

According to Krishan, a well-established graduate programme has a structured rotation cycle, where graduates get experience across a varied business landscape.

“This helps to establish a sound grounding across the business landscape and assists in graduates ultimately seeking a business unit of choice to join once they progress beyond the graduate programme.”

Another major issue, he says, is the lack of documented progression pathways and timelines out of a graduate programme into mainstream employment.

He shares some alternative programmes organisations can hold to attract graduates to ICT, digital, and innovation functions.

“In an agile delivery organisation, setting up a squad purely made up of graduates is seen as a contemporary way to introduce newly graduated students,” says Krishan.

The work programme can feature continued hackathons that deliver meaningful output to a set of priority business problems, he concludes.

Working with millennials: “If well structured, graduate programmes can provide an excellent seeding pool for career progression and succession planning,” says Abinesh Krishan, seen here with Flynn van Os, a recipient of the annual Potentia undergraduate scholarship with the School of Computer Science at the University of Auckland

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