The company that has again been awarded the Northern Territory Government’s major IT services contract has an unmatched reputation for world-class work.
But there is much more to NEC than that – it is also constantly proving itself to be an excellent corporate citizen by using a suite of NT-based subcontractors and training Territorians.
Regional manager Damien Charles says: “We’re all Territorians here and we want to see the Territory thrive.
“We want to provide as many opportunities for Territory subcontractors as we can.
“And we want to train as many Territorians as possible, which will give them a pathway to rewarding, well-paid careers.
“These two approaches will help the Territory economy and improve the capacity and capability of the Territory’s IT industry.
“We’re working hard to keep people and business in the Territory.”
The contract is for four years, with the option of a two-year extension, and covers a proportion of the Government’s IT services for every department and agency.
NEC has been working with the Government since 2001 and has an approval rating from “customers” – who range from teachers and police officers to department heads and other senior public servants – of up to 92 percent.
“That’s better than Google,” says Mr Charles. “We’re pleased that people are very happy with our work. Our customer satisfaction rating is good on a global scale.”
NEC and its subcontractors look after the Government’s IT services at 700 sites – stretching from Darwin city centre to Outback communities hundreds of kilometres from the nearest town.
Work ranges from troubleshooting at individual work desks and replacing worn-out equipment to cyber security.
All organisations are at risk from cyber attacks and developing industry capability and growing our skilled cyber security workforce is central to protecting IT environments and organisations from cybercrime.
NEC has highly qualified cyber security professionals recognised across the sector that contribute to protecting the NTG’s ICT network.
NEC also contributes to technical workshops and competitions to provide cyber security students at Charles Darwin University with opportunities to develop and test their skills.
NEC has 184 Territory staff and about 130 of those work on the Government contract, with the other 50 across other Government engagements. A further 40-50 Territorians work for subcontractors.
The company uses five subcontractors spread across the Territory – Red Centre Technology Partners, New Future IT, A&J Technology Solutions, Leading Edge and Jetstream.
“We’ve always had a strong focus on local business partnerships, on using local skills,” says Mr Charles.
“We look for companies who are not just very good at what they do but also have the same core values as us – an interest in developing the Territory.”
NEC work acts as a firm base to allow the subcontractors to win other contracts and expand, including taking on more staff and opening new offices.
“Every subcontract from our Government contract is awarded to a Territory business. None of the jobs or money goes outside the Territory.”
NEC has 13 trainees and school-based apprentices.
It also runs an Indigenous work placement program – five Aboriginal students will do paid work with NEC during school holidays.
“We want to set them up for permanent traineeships,” says Mr Charles. “We’re building a cohort of female Indigenous staff and they attract their friends and relatives to the business.”
NEC pays for four scholarships at Charles Darwin University – two VET courses in Alice Springs and two degrees in Darwin.
“We work with the university to provide opportunities for students to work here. It gives them great practical experience.”
One of NEC’s Indigenous staff will be offered a full university scholarship to study for a degree in information technology.
The company is also paying for 40 CDU students and all of its subcontractors to join the Australian Computer Society.
It is a long-term sponsor of the NT Training Awards and Digital Excellence Awards.
Despite young people being addicted to their computers, the IT industry worldwide is suffering a critical shortage of staff, particularly among women.
“The Territory has the opportunity to lead the way in attracting young people to the industry,” says Mr Charles.
“IT is changing all the time, which makes this a fascinating career.”