The Telstra Business Technology Services (BTS) Academy has had its second ever class graduate, this time with skills compliance going up a level.

In late 2016, Telstra announced that it was doing more to help train industry-ready tech professionals, launching the BTS Academy.

The initiative invites university graduates, TAFE graduates and young ICT professionals to join the academy, where they undertake on-the-job learning across different business areas and formal training before they are placed into the business.

ACS partnered with the academy, providing students with the opportunity to become industry accredited.

In the most recently graduated 'Telstra Academy Two' cohort, 16 members received ACS certification.

Twelve members of the 'Telstra Academy One' cohort were recognised by ACS as Certified Technologists (CT), with an additional two members receiving certification as part of a refresh.

In terms of Certified Professionals (CP), five from Academy One and two from Academy Two became certified at the event in Melbourne.

Director of Workforce Planning & Development at ACS, Louise Smith, explained that the most recently graduated cohort had benefited from a differing approach.

“With Academy One, the entry point for services offered by ACS was initially just on certification,” she said.

“We undertook certification assessments whereby staff in the Academy One acquired certification, either at a Certified Technologist or Certified Professional level.”

“We then implemented SFIA the way we traditionally implement SFIA across all of our projects, whereby we undertake a profiling activity.”

SFIA refers to the Skills Framework for the Information Age – the ICT skills framework used by ACS and other professional organisations around the world.

It provides descriptions of skills and responsibilities required for specific job roles for ICT professionals.

Using the mySFIA tool, students were able to assess their competencies across six key areas and as a result evaluate compliance rates as a percentage against specific job roles.

Smith explained that in the first cohort, guidance was given to the Academy members on how to navigate SFIA as a capability framework through self-assessment.

However, the second cohort were guided through the program a little bit differently.

“It was determined that with the Academy Two team that we would take a different approach, she said.

“Rather than jumping straight into certification, we would provide a more defined pathway around skills identification, skills capture and from there validation of skills.”

The job roles were re-benchmarked and self-assessment was then performed once again – only after the formal assessment could the Academy Two team apply for certification.

As a result, compliance rates to current job roles reached 90% for the Academy One team and 85% for Academy Two.

A refresh was also provided to the Academy One cohort as part of ACS’ broadened skills assessment.

71% of Academy One members elevated their skills by at least one level after undergoing the refresh.