Former BCE students thriving thanks to First Nations IT Traineeship

BCE Executive Director Dr Sally Towns (far left) and CIO Leigh Williams (far right), with First Nations IT Interns Aleya Smith and Max Kooreman. 

Thriving in their new roles as Information Technology interns are the First Nations Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) graduates - Aleya Smith and Max Kooreman. 

After graduating in 2022, the former BCE students were selected to take part in BCE’s first Information Technology (IT) traineeship for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates. 

The full-time two-year traineeship started in January 2023 and will see the interns focus the first 12 months on four areas of the BCE IT department, followed by a second 12 months in an area of their choice.   

As part of the traineeship, Aleya and Max have also had the opportunity to complete a Certificate III in Information Technology, funded by BCE. 
First Nations woman Aleya Smith praised the intern opportunity, calling it “a dream come true.”  

"During my time at Mt Maria College Mitchelton, IT was the only thing that truly captivated me, and my passion for databases and systems led me to apply for this opportunity,” she said.  

“This internship has really changed the course of my life and opened many doors for me. 

“I am learning to set up different servers, something I thought I would never encounter.  

"I also never envisioned myself in a corporate role or reaching this position, but I am grateful for the unexpected journey. 

"If I can continue doing this for the rest of my life, I will be over the moon." 

Biripi man Max Kooreman said his journey to the internship began after Mt Maria College Petrie School Chaplain and First Nations Advisor Krystal Tatow-Warren encouraged him to apply. 

“My parents and former school community are incredibly proud of me, and their support has been unwavering throughout my journey,” he said. 

"It’s an amazing opportunity that allows me to explore other IT careers within the BCE office and expand my knowledge in different areas. 

"So far I am finding great satisfaction in this role, and I’m enjoying setting up and building servers and establishing wireless networks.” 

BCE Chief Information Officer Leigh Williams said Aleya and Max have brought a tremendous amount of energy, motivation, and enthusiasm to BCE’s IT teams.   

“Early on we noticed Max's keen interest in cyber security, while Aleya showed a fascination for hardware,” she said.  

“Together they have been exploring various areas, including digital solutions, to support our office and school applications.  

“They have also been invaluable in our office's laptop refresh project. 

“Their contributions in building images, testing, and deploying laptops has been remarkable.” 

Leigh said Aleya and Max have” immense potential to become future leaders in IT.”  

“It will be interesting to see how their interests continue to evolve over the next year and a half,” she said. 

The Chief Information Officer said the internship came from BCE’s commitment to providing diverse and inclusive opportunities for BCE graduates.
“In line with BCE’s commitment to reconciliation, the traineeship aims to provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates, allowing them to build knowledge and hone their skills in their favoured IT discipline,” she said. 

“The program also aims to provide graduates the opportunity to be part of an industry which is both a fast growing and secure.”​ ​

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