Career CUSP: Empowering Talent & Employers

​Empowering Talent Through the Leaders IT Capacity Uplift Solutions Program (CUSP)

At Peoplebank, we are passionate about creating opportunities that foster diverse and inclusive workplaces. Our sister company, Leaders IT, is at the forefront of this mission with innovative programs designed to empower underrepresented talent in the tech industry. One such initiative is the award-winning Capacity Uplift Solutions Program (CUSP), which is driving significant social impact, particularly in supporting neurodivergent individuals and other marginalised groups.

We recently spoke with Madelene Kawitzki, our Client Executive for Leaders IT in Western Australia, to learn more about her role and the transformative potential of CUSP.

A Journey of Purpose and Impact

Madelene's journey with Peoplebank began as an Account Manager, primarily handling recruitment for mining companies. After taking a break for parental leave, she returned with a desire to engage in more solution-oriented work. This shift led her to explore various initiatives within Leaders IT.

"When I returned” Madelene shared, “I learned more about the opportunities and different initiatives our teams were working on, especially in Victoria. The idea of working collaboratively with clients on long-term solutions sounded very fulfilling."

The Capacity Uplift Solutions Program (CUSP)

One of the initiatives that particularly resonated with Madelene was the Capacity Uplift Solutions Program (CUSP). This program focuses on bringing non-typical candidates into their first tech roles. It targets groups such as return-to-work parents, new graduates, neurodiverse individuals, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Candidates. These are high-potential individuals who might otherwise struggle to enter the tech industry through traditional recruitment processes.

“CUSP reduces barriers for employers by outsourcing the professional development and technical skills training of these candidates to us,” explained Madelene. “This approach alleviates the time constraints on managers, making them more open to hiring diverse talent.”

Structure and Success of CUSP

The program supports individuals over a 12-month journey. During this period, participants receive professional development workshops, one-on-one mentorship with senior professionals in their field, and technical skills training, often leading to vendor certifications relevant to their roles. The goal is for participants to convert to permanent employees or continue contracting, armed with valuable work experience.

"The conversion rate is around 79% nationally, with consultants either continuing as contractors with the company or becoming permanent employees. The remaining consultants are added to our database with new skills ready to be contracted for one of our other clients," noted Madelene. "For consultants, the support system CUSP provides is invaluable. It helps them develop their skills and build confidence quickly, ensuring they can navigate challenges effectively."

For clients, engaging with CUSP graduates offers numerous benefits. In an industry with aggressive gender targets and a competitive talent market, CUSP provides access to a broader pool of talent. It also fosters a sense of satisfaction among hiring managers, who see tangible positive changes and feel part of a broader solution to the industry's challenges.

Expanding Horizons

Leaders IT is continually looking to expand the program to address skill shortages in critical areas such as cybersecurity and AI. By partnering with organisations like the Australian Computer Society Foundation and the Autism Academy at Curtin University, CUSP is enhancing the inclusion of neurodiverse talent in the tech industry.

"Working with these partners, we support neurodiverse individuals through internships and subsequent employment, ensuring they receive continuous support during their transition into the workforce," Madelene explained. "This collaboration helps us achieve our shared goal of making a meaningful impact on the industry's talent landscape."

The collaboration involves industry internship placements with the Autism Academy, which focuses on placing autistic software developers and testers into the market. One mining company has set specific targets to improve the inclusion of neurodiverse talent. By providing ongoing support throughout their internship and subsequent employment through CUSP, these candidates are better equipped to navigate their new roles and integrate successfully into the workforce.

The goal is to relieve the burden on managers, making them more willing to consider diverse candidates by ensuring these individuals receive the necessary professional development and mentorship. This support helps them build confidence and technical skills, increasing their chances of success and retention in their new roles.

Find Out More

At Peoplebank, we are proud of the strides we are making through programs like the Capacity Uplift Solutions Program. By investing in the potential of diverse talent, we are not only enriching the lives of individuals but also driving innovation and growth within the tech industry.

For more information on the Capacity Uplift Solutions Program and how you can get involved, visit our website or contact us directly. Together, we can build a more inclusive and dynamic tech community!

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