A BENDIGO business has participated in a pilot program which supports pathways to employment for graduates.
ArchiTech, a networking, communications and security solutions provider, recently employed Tom Cecil through a program co-ordinated by the Cisco Networking Academy.
Mr Cecil studied at Box Hill Institute of TAFE.
ArchiTech managing director Rob Russell said the company had never considered hiring a graduate in the past.
"(Hiring) a graduate was never really on our radar," he said.
"Cisco recommended us to the lady who was running the program.
"We could see we were getting a volume of work and the program sounded very thorough and comprehensive."
Mr Russell said despite Mr Cecil's age, his personal characteristics and level of maturity were a standout.
"Tom was a standout," he said.
"We were very impressed with him as a person and what he had done in the program.
"We thought he was someone who would fit into our very skilled and experienced team."
Mr Cecil said he did not hesitate to accept an internship at ArchiTech and was surprised when offered a full-time position.
"When the process started it just counted as being work placement," he said.
"I thought I only had a small opportunity to impress Rob and the staff at ArchiTech, so I took it by the horns and tried to be as real as much as I could.
"Once I got the full-time job I was very happy and thankful that they would take me on."
Mr Russell said it was highly important for graduates to gain practical experience through work placements.
"It is incredibly valuable to get that work experience," he said.
"You can have all the right attributes but in our game the hands-on experience is really vital and where you become really valuable."