Cadetship sparks a passion for business

When Noor Aljabury stepped into the Perth offices of Programmed, a door opened to a world of opportunities she had never before imagined.

Gaining invaluable hands-on experience during a paid internship at the leading management services company helped Noor realise her passion for business. It also ignited her ambition to one day own a business and scale the heights of senior leadership.

The 21-year-old will complete her bachelor degree in engineering science and management at the University of Western Australia this semester, and has already started a master’s of professional engineering.

As one of the top students in mathematics and physics at high school, her teachers encouraged her to study engineering at university.

When she was invited by The Smith Family, the nation’s largest education focused children’s charity, to take part in the Cadetship to Career program, in partnership with the Business Council of Australia, she discovered an affinity for business.

“Doing the cadetship made me realise my passion for business which is what I ultimately want to do in the future,’’ she says.

"I gained a deeper insight into the corporate world and I feel better equipped to take on the next stage of my life within the corporate sector.

“From my enriching experience, I realised that business is about leading teams, dealing with various stakeholders, meeting your clients’ expectations and thinking outside of the box,'’ she says.

Cadetship to Career is a national program that supports disadvantaged but talented and determined young Australians to complete a tertiary qualification and gain skills and experience that will help them successfully transition from education to the workforce.

“Doing the cadetship made me realise my passion for business which is what I ultimately want to do in the future. I gained a deeper insight into the corporate world and I feel better equipped to take on the next stage of my life within the corporate sector.’’ Student and Cadetship to Career participant Noor Aljabury, 21.

The program targets young people starting their first or second year of tertiary education who are part of The Smith Family’s Learning for Life scholarship program.

The Smith Family’s Strategic Engagement Manager John Gelagin points out some young Australians, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can find the transition from high school to university or tertiary studies difficult, as well as the move into the workplace.

These challenges can include lacking what is called ‘social capital’ – the social and professional connections and personal support that help students get a foot in the front door to gain on-the-job employability skills.

“This initiative does help to level the playing field,’’ says Mr Gelagin. “It helps to position people that overcome great odds to make it into tertiary study.’’

“The great support of Business Council employers provides them some of that social capital and connections so they can build those skills and increase their prospects of career and future success,’’ he says.

For today’s graduates and job seekers, having the broader set of skills that employers are looking for means they can hit the ground running in the workplace.

Noor agrees, saying: “I had little knowledge on how business operates and how organisations work, although I did study management, however the job is different to what you study.’’

“I had to learn about the organisation’s structure, how it works out, how you talk to your manager, teams, basically everything.

“I didn't even know how to use two (desktop computer) screens so that was fascinating to me.’’

A cadetship runs for the length of a cadet’s qualification, typically two to four years. It offers cadets eight weeks per year of full-time paid employment with a Business Council member. Last year, 19 companies offered around 50 cadetships.

It also ensures cadets receive financial support to assist with living and educational expenses, training and development in the skills needed to succeed in a modern workplace, and ongoing pastoral care to support their transition from school to tertiary education.

Taking part in the Cadetship to Career program has boosted Noor’s confidence.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself including my strengths and weaknesses. Doing the cadetship helped me grow not only as an employee, but also as a person.

“I feel like a different person now – more confident, more mature, more experienced.

"With the broad range of experience I acquired during my journey, I can better handle and approach work tasks and I can say I took one step up the long ladder."

Noor was invited to take part in the cadetship program during her second year at university.

“I would like to thank The Smith Family for giving me this great opportunity which I would not have any other way.’’

James Sherlock, the Group General Manager People at Programmed, said the organisation had been delighted with its decision to be part of the Cadetship to Career program. 

“Noor and her colleagues in other states have shown enormous commitment to working in the Programmed business and are making a great contribution to the teams in which they are working,’’ Mr Sherlock said.  

“We are so pleased with the success of the program at this early stage that we have committed to engage a further two cadets in the next intake.’’

Programmed is a leading provider of staffing, maintenance and facility management services. We directly employ more than 20,000 people across a broad range of industries to provide services for over 10,000 customers.

It operates through a network of more than 100 branches, often delivering multiple services from across our business.