Why everyone wants to hire this man

Brent Brentan faced an uncertain future when the pandemic hit – so he did something new and thousands of Australians are following suit.

The first thing Brent Brentan felt when the pandemic hit was fear.

“I was of course afraid of the virus,” explains the Italian-born Sydney man, “I was worried about my family back home, but I also immediately lost my job in the hospitality industry and didn’t know what would happen.”

“I think it was March 4,” Brent continues, “so very early in the schedule, which gave me a lot of time to think about my next step.”

Like thousands of hospitality workers across the country, the lockdowns meant the future was uncertain for Brent, who had 15 years of industry experience, including a stint as a manager for the iconic Rockpool Group.

“I was really concerned that the hospitality industry was permanently decimated, and I thought to myself, ‘I need to do something completely different,'” he says.

“I’d always been interested in technology and I’d always wanted to learn how to program, but never had the time with the long hours I’d put into my old career. So I did some research and found a course.”

Brent’s decision to turn to technology is part of a broader trend, driven in part by the pandemic. It even has a name: digital training.

“The world is rapidly moving into a fully digital future, and as technology advances, the global workforce must adapt and transition to remain effective,” explains Sally Elson, Head of People at MYOB. “The more digital processes a company undertakes, the more important it is not only to recruit new talent with the digital skills required to navigate those processes, but also to provide digital skills training to the existing team.”

“It is estimated that more than 250,000 Australian jobs will be created by digitization by 2025 and by 2030 the entire Australian economy will be fully digitally powered. Today, nearly two in three Australian workers employ digital skills in their work, and that number will rise to 90 percent in the next five years.”

While Brent considered enrolling at TAFE or Uni to expand his skills, he also wanted to speed up the process. He found a three-month intensive course called “Coding Bootcamp” and signed up to complete it part-time in six months.

After completing his education, Brent landed a position at ARQ, a technical solutions provider committed to retraining employees into technical positions.

“Some of the most in-demand roles we see right now are product designers, engineers (Data, Cloud, Platform), developers and delivery specialists,” explains Tristan Sternson, CEO of ARQ Group.

“For Australia to become a leading digital economy, we need to work together to develop new homegrown talent to meet the rising demand in the digital technology industries. We are tech at heart and have implemented our ARQ Academy program TDx, where we have trained more than 100 individuals in technology-related roles and are on track to double that number by 2022”

Brent now works as an Associate Software Engineer at ARQ and says the opportunity for growth to start at the bottom of a new industry after so long at the top of his last is the opportunity to grow.

“It’s so rewarding to know that there’s no limit to progress in the digital world,” says Brent, “people outside of tech think everyone working in tech should get a classic computer science degree, but that “They don’t really want that. A diverse background and transferable skills make the tech world richer. I’ve brought a lot of skills from my years in the hospitality industry into my new role, and it’s for the better.”

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