Why joining Telstra's graduate program was such a great decision

I was accepted into Telstra’s graduate program on the HR pathway, just after completing my Bachelor of Business (majoring in Human Resource Management) at La Trobe University.
Kelsey Geldenhuys · 03 November 2021 · 4 minute read

Being in a big company like Telstra has been really good for me because it’s given me a chance to see all the theoretical aspects of HR in practice in a very large and busy environment. Studying these things is very different to actually applying them and I’m learning a lot.

My rotations were split into two month ‘mini’ rotations instead of spending my entire six months on one team, which is unique to HR, yet really great. It’s shown me the breadth of jobs and variety of areas you can go into in HR at Telstra. I'm currently with the Early Careers Talent Acquisition Team working on the Summer Vacationers recruitment program. It’s been a really interesting experience for me, partly because they’re using a program I built on one of my earlier rotations!

My experience on the graduate program and a few highlights

I’ve really appreciated the chance to be involved with all the different teams because there is so much that happens in HR and so many directions you can go in (for example, employee-facing or external candidate-facing).

I started off working on HR Direct – our employee live chat line – responding to queries and creating answers for FAQs. Then I moved on to the Digital Content and Experience team, checking that all the articles and resources they develop for Telstra employees stay up-to-date, accurate and relevant. After that, it was on to the Continuous Improvement team, where I was put in charge of developing a process to send contracts out to the 2021 summer vacation candidates.

 ShapeThat was such an interesting experience for me because I got to build the process from start to finish, troubleshooting all the way through and figuring out how we could improve as we went along. It was really great to be given my own project, and for it to be something quite important – they weren’t just throwing meaningless jobs at me.

Now as part of the Early Careers Team, I’ve sat in on Summer Vac interviews, contacted both successful and unsuccessful candidates, and am now seeing the program I built when I was on the Continuous Improvement team put into action to send out contracts to the incoming Summer Vac cohort. 

The culture at Telstra

I think one of the biggest things the Telstra grad program has in its favour is the general company culture. It’s so positive, supportive and flexible, even long before COVID-19. Staff are really taken care of and their wellbeing is prioritised.

The graduates have our own little clique within the company as well, which is really fantastic because we’re all sharing a similar experience and it’s good having a like-minded community around you.

 We all go through the same moments of uncertainty and self doubt, and being able to reassure each other and provide and receive support is always helpful.

The lockdowns have made it tricky to get to know our colleagues as well as we may have in person, but the teams I’ve been in have been really good at mitigating that by having social call sessions and organising online games together. And as soon as we can, we’ll definitely all be having lunches and Friday night drinks!

I'm also a part of the TGA (Telstra Graduate Association), which is a small committee of grads voted in by our wider cohort, to plan events (all obviously virtual for the time being). It’s fun being able to organise things like national games days that bring people together.

What’s next for me

 I definitely plan to stay with Telstra if they offer me a position after the program is over. I’m really enjoying where I am right now in the talent acquisition space, but I’ve actually enjoyed all the teams I’ve been in, so I would be happy to move forward with any of them, given the chance.

I always wanted to work for a big company because I knew it would give me so many opportunities to learn about all the different processes in HR. Telstra has lived up to everything I wanted and more. They value graduates as actual employees and team members, give us real responsibilities, and make us feel driven and motivated towards our future. I hope I’m able to stay here for a long time!

For more info on Telstra’s graduate program, head to the website!

By Kelsey Geldenhuys

HR Business Specialist

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