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The benefits of gaining technical education from an early age

To find out more about more about Post school VET (PVET) Courses offered at Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College please click here. Applications open Wednesday 20 May 2020.

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Case Study: Taylor Maree-Raffoul and 365 Mechanix

Taylor-Maree Raffoul has had an interest in IT from an early age when her curiosity for engineering and how things work took shape. As a student at Sydney Catholic Schools, she was able to put her passion into practice through signing up for an elective in graphics technology in Years 9 and 10 and information, digital media in Years 11 and 12 – during which time she obtained an attainment towards a Certificate III in Information, digital media and technology. It was then that her teacher inspired her to study IT full-time and she enrolled at Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College (SCCV) for a 6-week crash course, completing the Certificate III in IDT and solidifying her career goals for pursuing a full-time role in the ICT sector.

It was also during her time at SCCVC that Taylor-Maree learned about the Microsoft Traineeship Program when an MEGT recruiter came to speak to the class and encouraged students to apply.

Trainee Taylor-Maree
Trainee Taylor-Maree with supervisor Bruce Sithole, Founder, 365 Mechanix

The program has been designed to combine education and on-the-job experience that will set students up to embark upon a budding IT career. Upon successful completion of the program, trainees will receive a Certificate IV in Information Technology from TAFE NSW and some of the latest cloud computing Microsoft certifications delivered by Prodigy Learning. Knowing that she wasn’t interested in pursuing a full-time Uni degree at that time, and instead was looking for real-world experience coupled with education, the traineeship program seemed like the perfect fit for Taylor. She was soon accepted into the 2020 cohort in Sydney and placed with host partner 365 Mechanix, a Microsoft partner specializing in Power Platform and Dynamics 365 solutions.

Now just two months into the program, and with the added challenge of adjusting to remote work, Taylor is already fitting in well with the team at 365 Mechanix and working alongside another fellow trainee, Tapan Chettimada. Her supervisor, Bruce Sithole, couldn’t agreed more, “Taylor’s ability to quickly learn the Microsoft Power Platform has been extremely impressive. Not only has she been learning the technology quickly, she has shown promising consulting skills too by working with some of our customers to solve their business issues with this technology. I look forward to watching her grow within our organisation and become a key member of our business.”

I caught up with Taylor-Maree last week to learn more about how her IT studies in High School helped both define her career journey and support her studies/work in the program. Here’s what she had to say:

Q: How have your studies been going at TAFE NSW? How did your studies at Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College (SCCVC) prepare you for TAFE and/or work?

My studies at SCCVC (Information, digital media and technology) helped prepare me for this program quite a bit. My graphics teacher/IDT teacher taught us about the importance of communication and that has helped me so much, even now. Knowing how to speak with customers, demo products and satisfy customer needs all comes down to communication skills.

In regards to the Certification IV at TAFE, it’s a bit like a continuation of the Certificate III I completed previously. It has helped to cements things that we learned in the Cert III and has provided additional learning stages that are applicable to my role on-the-job, such as business information.

Q: What are you looking forward to in the short-term future?

I really enjoy working with people. Right now I’m working virtually with my fellow trainee and supervisor but working with clients face to face is what I really miss and enjoy. Prior to COVID-19 and working virtually, I was able to sit in on one of the “App in a Day” workshops that 365 Mechanix runs with Microsoft. I’m looking forward to assisting with more of those and to help our clients to create solutions for their business needs.

Q: What are you long-term goals beyond the traineeship program?

I hope to be in a role that is a continuation of what I’m doing now – meeting with clients, creating apps, using Dynamics and Power Apps to help businesses. It’s interesting to me – how business and technology interact and how technology can help businesses grow.

Q: What would you say to other students that may be interested in applying?

Go for it! I was a bit hesitant to apply at first – mainly because Microsoft is such a large business, it felt a bit intimidating and I didn’t know what would happen. But looking back, I’m so glad I did and wish I hadn’t hesitated at the start. The application and interview process was very straight-forward and I’m so glad I went for it.

To those thinking of applying, we encourage you to take Taylor’s advice and apply to the program today!

Interested in becoming a host partner and taking on a trainee?

 Strategic partners Microsoft and MEGT are actively meeting with schools to discuss the program and seek future host partner opportunities for additional trainees like Taylor to support IT systems within all industries, especially the Education sector. Bruce is very happy he took the first step and

“couldn’t be happier with the outcomes to date. It really has been beneficial to us as a business to have this ability to provide individuals, with so much potential, the opportunity to work with us – a win-win situation for everyone.” If you’re interested in finding out more to become a host partner, please reach out to us at MTP-AU@microsoft.com

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