Way back, around mid 2016, I started talking to Lee Hawkins about putting together a venture that would help people gain employment through software testing skills. I’ve written about the making, and history, of the EPIC TestAbility Academy (ETA) here and also here. If you go to here you can read Lee’s take on our journey. His latest blog is particularly relevant to this current tale.
The reason I’m writing this blog is because today Travelport Locomote launched LocoStart. This is a program aimed at generating opportunity for people that may not otherwise have the choices, options and opportunities many of us take for granted.
LocoStart has come about because of people caring about others and wanting to help in meaningful ways. This was very much a team effort and it would be wrong of me not to acknowledge that. Kym (wearing the ID badge, closest to TV screen) works for EPIC Assist. Her work since coming on-board with ETA has been, well, epic. Kym has taken every opportunity and helped ETA grow in new and exciting ways. I honestly do not know how to put into words just how important Kym has been to the survival and growth of ETA. Next to Kym, is Ilana. Ilana is our Communications Manager, Marketing. She has been very interested in ETA since I mentioned it not long after starting at, what was then, Locomote. From what I’ve seen, Ilana is incredibly driven when she focuses on an outcome. Her work championing this program and giving it life was simply incredible. Natalie is standing next to Ilana. Natalie is Delivery Lead in the team I work in. Natalie, like Ilana, has been very interested in ETA and very keen on establishing a placement program. Her input and support has been brilliant. I count myself as being incredibly fortunate to work with people that have a genuine social conscience.
So, after what is 2 years of planning and 2 ETA courses, the dream is starting to turn to reality. On Wednesday, Dom , a former student of ETA, begins a placement with Travelport Locomote. This will be his first professional engagement, his first job, since completing Year 12 at high school. Dom will be with us for 6 weeks and spending 2 days each week in our Melbourne office. Dom will be coming into the team I work in but will be exposed to all the business areas we have in our Melbourne office. He’ll be coming in to a warm and welcoming workplace with people that are keen to help him enjoy his time with us.
I’m really excited by this opportunity and the hope that this is the beginning of a brilliant program, one that will inspire many future blogs. I’m excited to work for a company that has taken a positive step towards understanding and promoting the value of workplace diversity and is willing to learn and improve from actual experience. This is a great opportunity for all of us to learn a bit more about neurodiversity and promote workplace diversity through meaningful and positive anecdotes. LocoStart, in my mind, has a massive upside for our workplace. Beyond all of that we have opened the door for a young man to have his first experience in a professional IT environment, and hopefully, a career in IT as a tester.