This Australian startup is guaranteeing tech jobs for those who lost theirs to digital disruption

SuppliedAcademy Xi.
  • Do a ten week course and this startup will guarantee you a tech job.
  • Academy Xi says it’s about re-skilling with practical real-life experience.
  • It’s more like on the job training than formal education.

Academy Xi​, a skills training startup, has an unusual guarantee — do our courses and we’ll guarantee you a job or your money back.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1.4% or 268,000 of the Australia’s population aged 15 and over reported being retrenched from their last job.

Five million jobs — almost 40% of Australian jobs that exist today — could disappear in the next 10 to 15 years because of technology, according to analysis by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

Companies are finding more and more reasons to make redundancies as businesses gain productivity and efficiency benefits through technology.

If the companies don’t do, their competitors will.

Xi (pronounced Ex-eye) has decided to guarantee a job in tech for people who have been made redundant in the last six months.

“We’re guaranteeing at least 50 people new jobs in tech from our ​10 week full-time programs otherwise they’ll get their money back or additional training if they choose,” says Ben Wong, CEO and Co-founder of Academy Xi.

“It’s not about education, it’s about reskilling with practical real-life experience. We’re currently exploring opportunities with a few organisations to extend this redundancy retraining guarantee on scale so that we can truly solve this growing issue.”

Academy Xi raised $1.7 million, led by Perle Ventures and Alium Capital, in a series A round in June last year. The company is now working on the next capital raising.

Wong says you don’t necessary need tech experience to work in tech. Curiosity, empathy, critical thinking, and desire to problem solve are the assets needed.

“Combine this with some practical, real life training to gain that experience and you have in demand talent in this growing digital skills gap,” he says.

In the ten weeks, Academy Xi queues up start ups and companies.

“These are real life startups that you work on,” Wong says.

“So it’s teaching you the skills, learning the theory, and ultimately, you’re coming out of there as if you’ve been working in the field and in a place for 10 weeks, guided by mentors, instructors, and industry practitioners.

“Rather than an education, it’s more like on the job training.”

Over ten weeks, a student might work with three companies.

“You’ll work with these clients with the skills that you’ve learned just from these couple weeks of schoolwork,” he says. “And you’re applying these skills straight away.

“We do get a lot of people who’ve already been in tech and are wanting to get better skills.

“But we do have a number of people who aren’t.

“We had one guy from construction who realised that he needs to skill up, and he’s taking four different courses with us.”

The ten week courses cost between $12,000 and $13,000, including a Service Designer course.

“Depending on the sort of skills that you have, you could get a job straight after the course or it could take a couple months,” he says.

Courses include the ten week UX Designer course for $12,000.

He says graduates get paid anything between $55,000 and $100,000 a year.

“It depends on the complementary skills you have already and the experience you have professionally,” Wong says.

“We do screen the people that come in to make sure that they’ve got the right aptitude and commitment because obviously if they don’t, it’s gonna be very hard.

“We support them to get the roles and we make sure that they’re willing to put in the time and effort.”

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