Geoffrey Frost first joined the Microsoft Traineeship Program (MTP) alongside 37 other trainees accepted into the first cohort in NSW in February 2019.
The Microsoft Traineeship Program combines paid on-the-job experience within the Microsoft Australia network and a Certificate IV in Information Technology from TAFE. Geoffrey is one of five trainees placed with Microsoft Australia as a Host Employer within the digital sales team.
Geoffrey has a unique and varied work background. He previously worked as a contract patisserie chef in docked ships and yachts around Asia! He has since transitioned from being a chef to studying an IT certification Cisco course, which provides a foundation of learning on computer hardware and networking.
From there, he enrolled in TAFE NSW and completed a Cert III in Information, Digital Media and Technology. It was during his time at TAFE NSW that a teacher recommended he apply his skills and knowledge learnt from the Cert III towards the Microsoft Traineeship Program - and the rest is history!
In addition to his varied interests and experience, Geoffrey is also a proud Aboriginal person - with family ties back to the Wiradjuri nation. While he is an avid video gamer and tech enthusiast, Geoffrey says he is most passionate about the sharing and preservation of Indigenous culture and knowledge.
“I was fortunate enough to recently meet an Indigenous entrepreneur, Mikaela Jade, at an industry event where she was showcasing her njulgang mini digital custodians project, in partnership with Microsoft. One of her messages which resonates with me is that ‘Everyone, Everywhere, has knowledge, has history, and all they need is the opportunity, the means, and the medium to share and preserve that history and knowledge.’ Throughout this program, Microsoft, MEGT and my manager and peers have encouraged me to be actively engaged in industry events where technology can further the sharing and preservation of the Indigenous culture." – Geoffrey Frost, Microsoft Trainee
Geoffrey’s story is a great example of how a previous certification served as a great basis of knowledge to transfer to the Microsoft Traineeship Program. Read more below to hear how Geoffrey’s previous experience helped him transition to the program – and what he’s learning in his new role today!
Why did you decide to apply for the program?
I had previously tried to apply for jobs, and all of them required second-year university degrees, as well as 3+ years of full-time work experience at tech companies. I figured this was my best chance to get quite a lot of on the job training while getting another certificate as well.
What are some of the highlights of the program thus far?
The amount of resources and knowledge I’ve received is outstanding. In the beginning, I was sceptical about asking questions. Now after a few months, I’m at the stage where I’m comfortable asking questions, and everyone, no matter what questions I ask, is always happy to set aside time to explain anything in-depth and in a more personalized manner. Having access to ask questions of those in the field, not just my teacher at TAFE, is very helpful.
What programs/events have you been involved in to engage the Indigenous community into the IT industry?
I have taken part in quite a lot of Indigenous programs and networking events, such as the partnership between Microsoft and Indigital where I got a glimpse into the projects that both companies are investing in to conserve the recording and sharing of digital art. Another event I attended was an Indigitek seminar focused on cybersecurity and its application towards the storing and sharing of digital art. Through these events, it’s been great to see how the IT community focuses on engaging with the Indigenous community.
What advice would you give to other candidates/students who are looking to pursue a career in IT?
I would highly recommend applying for this program. Also, do some research and just be aware of all your options first, because a full-time university degree is sometimes not required at all to go forward into a career, be it IT or any other job field. Rather a traineeship is a great way to get experience and education at the same time.
If you identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander we encourage you to apply for the program.
If you’re currently a school-leaver or student at TAFE, please apply to the program at this link: https://www.megt.com.au/microsoft-traineeship-program