11 companies with great career development programs

September 12, 2022
Career development programs

What do you look for when searching for a job?


Flexible working arrangements?

Company culture?

While these things are definitely important, if you’re looking to really set up your career and not just grind away at any old job, set your sights on a company that invests in its employees by offering career development programs.

Whether you’re a recent graduate or you’ve been in the workforce for a while, taking a role with a company willing to groom you for greatness can pay dividends for your future.

What is career development and why is it important?

Career development is the process of aligning your personal learning and development with career advancement opportunities. Career development is important because work plays a vital role in our lives, so your work should align with your values and uplift and fulfill you. 

Both you and your employer play a role in career development. While it’s ultimately your responsibility to take charge of your professional life, many employers offer opportunities to employees because when they learn and enhance their skills, everyone benefits. 

Learning new skills can help you succeed in your current role, it can help you prepare for promotions, or it can let you test and trial pivots into new career pathways. And there are benefits for companies as well. Companies with the best training programs:

  • Improve employee retention
  • Improve company culture
  • Improve employee engagement

What is a career development program?

There are different types of career-development programs, but typically, the term refers to a program an employer implements to help employees grow in their careers. 

Examples include initiatives like:

  • Mentoring programs
  • Training programs
  • Courses or certifications
  • Seminars and networking events
  • Employee resources groups

So, are you ready to grow your mind and your career with some truly great companies? Let’s dive in!

Cenitex | NAB | Tracey Brunstrom & Hammond | Freightliner & Pentalver | Aflac | Ericsson | Alcoa | Sandvik | Powerlink  | TransgridBeon, CitiPower, Powercor & United Energy

Examples of career development programs (from leading employers)

career development programs Cenitex

What the company does

Cenitex bring together the best technology and the best people to keep the Victorian Government operating, connected, and working for the community 24/7. They play a key role in setting the government’s direction for major corporate systems and cyber-security, and for a government-wide IT capability uplift.

Programs offered

High potential employees are invited to participate in an external program called The Leading-Edge program.

Delivered part-time over four months, Leading Edge is designed to enable the transition of women who are aspiring and early career managers into confident, capable, and motivated leaders. Informed by fifteen years of experience in developing women with emerging talent, the program focuses on tangible, relevant outcomes tailored to the needs of each participant.​

Cenitex have also recently partnered with RMIT to run a Women in STEM Cadetship Program. In this program, women in paid employment in any industry can study a part-time Diploma of Information Technology. Students will gain practical and theoretical skills in:
Computer Hardware
Cyber Security
And more…

Hear from their people

Career development programs

“Last year I expressed my interest in training in leadership roles and was allowed to attend the Leading Edge program delivered by Women & Leadership Australia. Attending the Leading Edge program has equipped me with the knowledge, behavioral insights, and traits required for confidently transitioning into a successful leadership role.”

– Divya Maheshwari (she/her), Technical Specialist ITSM Admin

Career development programs

“Cenitex is an undiscovered gem for people who do want to extend their technical capability or are looking for opportunities to make the most of using their technical skills. Being in a culture that fosters new ideas and supports implementing them is pivotal in allowing you to grow your career.”

– Michelle Fraser (she/her), Service Delivery Manager


What the company does

NAB is Australia’s largest business bank. They work with small, medium, and large businesses to help them start, run, and grow. For more than 150 years, they’ve been helping their customers with their money. Today, they have more than 35,000 people serving 10 million customers at more than 800 locations in Australia, New Zealand, and around the world. They fund some of the most important infrastructures in our communities – including schools, hospitals, and roads.

Programs offered

Technology Internship programs give the women who are interns at NAB chances to learn about and pursue a career in technology. These programs are six to 12-month programs which allow their interns to be mentored and supported by senior leaders across the business, while doing real work in their innovative technology teams. They will become certified in AWS/Azure and have opportunities to join NAB’s inhouse ‘hackathons’.

NAB’s Private Wealth and Business Banking areas have developed a talent program named 1,500 degrees. The program is designed to break through the metaphorical ‘glass ceiling’ that women face, which has resulted in an underrepresentation of senior women in the business. The program allows their employees to undertake facilitated learning and development, networking exposure with senior leaders, and a dedicated sponsor who champions each participant to their next career opportunity.

NAB also proudly support the Jawun program, which provides six weeks of career-development opportunities for their colleagues in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. By supporting this Indigenous social and economic project, their staff members gain valuable skills and knowledge and make a real difference in their communities.

NAB’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) also provide opportunities for employees to celebrate their diversity and network with like-minded individuals, sharing professional challenges and obtaining the tools to advance in their careers. Here are just a few of the ERGs they support:

  • Culture Inc
  • NAB Pride
  • Gender Balance
Hear from their people

Career development programs

“I have had many opportunities to grow as an individual and in my career, as well as learn new skills which I can take with me into the future. NAB has been there for me in my ups and downs. As a woman of color, I have been empowered to bring my whole self to work and NAB has helped me progress in my career whilst raising my children single-handed. It has rewarded me financially and supported me with work-life balance to attend my kids’ schooling activities or my elderly mother’s medical appointments as a primary carer.”

– Dolly Cutinho (she/her), Senior Health Business Banking Manager

career development programsTracey Brunstrom & Hammond

What the company does

TBH is Australia’s largest privately owned and independent specialist planning and management consultancy, with offices across Australia, Asia, Middle East, and North Africa. Established in 1965, TBH’s founders introduced professional Project Planning and Management advisory services into Australia. 

Programs offered

TBH Australia has been supporting the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) for 25 years TBH, and more recently became a corporate member. For over 30 years NAWIC has provided a forum and support network for women in the construction industry. NAWIC is an Australian, not-for-profit organization, led by a team of passionate volunteers who all strive to champion and empower women in the construction and related industries to reach their full potential.

During their partnership with NAWIC, TBH has participated in a variety of industry events, introduced university students to careers in project management and sponsored an award for outstanding achievement in construction. As a member, all TBH employees have access to a variety of benefits including participating in a variety of events, personal development, networking opportunities, access to mentoring programs, access to additional assistance programs, and many other opportunities to champion and empower women in construction. 

Hear from their people

career development programs

“The mentoring program is one of the unique features that initially attracted me to TBH. The program ensures that every team member is appointed a senior leader as their mentor, with the mentor being responsible for their mentee’s professional development. Joining as an engineering graduate with no prior consulting experience, my mentor played a pivotal role in ensuring I had opportunities to highlight my strengths, expand my technical skill set, and broaden my experiences across different industries and service offerings.”

– Erin Beckefeld (she/ her), Associate

Freightliner & Pentalvercareer development programscareer development programs

What the company does

Freightliner is a leading rail freight operator and the largest haulier of maritime transport containers in the UK, transporting over 700,000 containers every year. With depots and terminals spread nationwide, they operate services across the entire UK rail network as well as offering rolling stock and infrastructure maintenance solutions.

Programs offered

Freightliner & Pentalver have been raising the profile of women in their industry and have

rebranded their websites to include more diverse imagery of their colleagues (gender and ethnicity) and focused on more gender-neutral job adverts. To ensure equality in the careers of their employees, they have launched a Diversity & Inclusion Policy, relaunched a Shared Parental Leave Policy, and continue to review all their policies.

They have included a focus on diversity and unconscious bias, as well as professionalism in the workplace, as a core part of all management development training. They have also signed up to the Women in Rail Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Charter and support Women in Rail & The Big Logistics Diversity Challenge. 

‘Nurturing our talent’ is one of their leadership behaviors and Freightliner & Pentalver have launched a program of training activities covering a wide variety of development programs, including a range to specifically support diversity and inclusion.

Hear from their people

career development programs

“The role I’m currently in has been a steep learning curve. I have massively improved my knowledge of the railway. I’ve completed a shunting competency with the help of a couple of great mentors, and my understanding of HR and Payroll requirements has skyrocketed!

After nearly six years in this business and four roles, I can say, with confidence, that everyone I have met has taught me something. I started as a 19-year-old and here I am today at 25 owning my career.”

– Jemma Ringland (she/her), Local Operations Manager

Aflaccareer development programs

What the company does

Aflac is a Fortune 500 company, providing financial protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. When a policyholder or insured gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits promptly, for eligible claims, directly to the insured (unless assigned otherwise). For more than six decades, Aflac voluntary insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress.

Programs offered

Aflac have a Career Success Center available to all employees. You schedule an appointment with a Career Counseling Consultant, and they work with you to help set career goals and ensure all employees are prepared to take that career next step at Aflac. They conduct resume reviews, mock interviews, leadership coaching, and career coaching. Through one-on-one sessions and other events employees can see the variety of career opportunities within the organization and feel prepared to make career changes in a competitive job market.

Their Career Success Center puts on a variety of programs to help employees learn about the different career opportunities at Aflac and network with colleagues. They host Career Insights sessions that allow employees to interact with leadership in different areas of the company and learn about the skills, experience, and knowledge needed to thrive in that area. They also host a Career Awareness Expo that allows employees to discover additional career opportunities throughout the organization, network with leaders, and learn about educational opportunities as well.

Hear from their people

“My career at Aflac has indeed been a journey. I started with the company as a part-time employee, working my way through college. After identifying the career paths that interested me, I began to take the career development courses that Aflac offers. I learned the importance of setting career goals and making decisions that will allow me to reach them. Having mentors and absorbing as much knowledge from them as possible enhanced my growth. Continuing my education outside of Aflac gave me a broader perspective and once the Career Success Center came along, I began using their services for guidance.” 

– Joycelynn Sanchez, Manager, Integrated Knowledge Solutions

Ericssoncareer development programs

What the company does

Ericsson is one of the leading providers of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to service providers. They enable the full value of connectivity by creating game-changing technology and services that are easy to use, adopt, and scale, making our customers successful in a fully connected world.

Programs offered

The Ericsson FUEL Program is a community and professional development program for emerging female talent to support women into leadership roles that launched in 2015. The curriculum includes professional development workshops, coaching, lunchtime connect sessions, web-based learning, and participation in a variety of industry and leadership events to facilitate networking.

The Ericsson Aspire Program is a career enhancement program for women that launched in 2019 as part of Ericsson’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategy. The purpose is to support their gender diversity goals to increase the proportion of women in the organization overall and focus on increasing participation of women in leadership roles. The program aims to develop and promote high performers through a combination of development, assessment, engagement, career support and mentoring. The benefits of participating in this program are developing and enhancing skills, increasing self-awareness, and reflecting on their strengths, blockers, and opportunities. In addition, participants get the opportunity to engage with the business, raise their profile, connect with others across the organization and fulfil their potential as leaders.

Hear from their people

career development programs

“I started my Ericsson journey as a graduate engineer with Ericsson Ireland in 1996.  I am now working in my fifth role as an Engineering Manager in the Managed Services division. Throughout my career with Ericsson, I have had the opportunity to move into new roles across different parts of the business, utilizing my existing skills whilst building new ones.”

– Janet Crosbee (she/her), Managed Services Engineering Manager

“When the Ericsson Construction Mentoring Program was announced I was instantly interested and keen to participate. Benefits so far have been exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking, good advice, and feedback on developing my strengths and overcoming challenges, increasing my internal network and visibility, developing new skills and knowledge.” - Janice Waters (she/her) Construction Coordinator at Ericsson

“When the Ericsson Construction Mentoring Program was announced I was instantly interested and keen to participate. Benefits so far have been exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking, good advice, and feedback on developing my strengths and overcoming challenges, increasing my internal network and visibility, developing new skills and knowledge.”

– Janice Waters (she/her) Construction Coordinator at Ericsson

Alcoacareer development programs

What the company does

Alcoa invented the aluminium industry in 1888 and continues to innovate with new technologies and processes. As a global leader in bauxite, alumina and aluminium products, their operations in Australia are among the best in the world. 

Programs offered

Alcoa proudly champion a Women in Operations (WIO) program that is specifically designed to develop talented women in the WA workforce who aspire to become leaders in their business. The 14-month development course provides a pathway towards operational and leadership roles, encouraging hard-working women to take opportunities and develop rewarding careers.

The program is well supported by their Senior Managers and covers various topics that are delivered and facilitated by internal and external Subject Matter Experts. WIO provides both personal and business benefits for employees and promotes active learning, mentoring, and coaching.

As part of their recent 3rd cohort WIO program, they had an impressive group of 21 employees recently graduate. And to this day the program has seen positive outcomes across the business. It has proven to be an initiative that contributes to diversity of thought and provides opportunities to build career-long relationships and connections whilst aiming to retain and encourage talented women to take on operational and leadership roles.

Sandvik career development programs

What the company does

Sandvik is a high-tech and global engineering group offering products and services that enhance customer productivity, profitability, and sustainability. They hold world-leading positions in selected areas – tools and tooling systems for metal cutting; equipment and tools, service and technical solutions for the mining and construction industries; products in advanced stainless steels and special alloys as well as products for industrial heating.

Programs offered

Sandvik in Australia recognizes that the number of women with technical experience, especially in the mining and manufacturing industry, is a very small talent pool to recruit from. To combat this, they have developed several ‘leadership development roles’ which allow women from a non-technical background to step into a leadership position and manage a small technical team. This strategy has enabled women to not only receive essential on the job leadership experience, but it has also opened the door to developing their leadership capabilities in classroom learning as well. It puts more women in the male dominated industry on the map for future career opportunities.

These ‘Leadership development roles’ are also an opportunity offered to give more responsibility and leadership opportunities to women within admin roles in the company. 

Sandvik also have their Frontline Management Development Program. While this program is available for everyone developing into a leadership position, all women undertaking the leadership development opportunities discussed above are ensured to attend and complete this program. 

First Nations Pathways Program – this program started in January 2021 with a focus on providing employment to First Nations people. The trainees complete a Cert III Business Administration over a 12-month period. The trainees work in four different departments in the business to gain an understanding of the different administration positions. At the end of the traineeship, the trainees can apply for a permanent position. 

Sandvik have also partnered with Autism QLD and Autism Partnership of WA to train their managers on Autism in the workplace and how creating positions for people with Autism can benefit their organization.

Hear from their people

career development programs

“As a Team Leader for the Service Coordination team, I have the privilege of managing and mentoring our First Nations employees, who are part of Sandvik’s traineeship program.  Initially, the trainees will spend six months with my team and will then progress to other departments, as well as completing their Certificate III in Business Administration.  The trainees that I currently manage are enthusiastic, polite, and willing to learn as much as they can, however, being young and very new to a professional environment, can come with some challenges.  It’s important to communicate the expectations of what is required from them, as Sandvik employees.  Setting goals, routine, and regular one-on-one catch ups, has proved to be very effective.  My objective is to ensure that the First Nation employees obtain full time employment at the end of their traineeship.”

– Alexia Clarke (she/her), Workshop Administrator – Team Leader

What the company does

Powerlink is a leading Australian provider of high voltage electricity transmission services, combining innovation with insight to deliver safe, cost-effective, and reliable energy solutions. Their purpose is to connect Queenslanders to a world-class energy future, providing electricity to five million Queenslanders and 238,000 businesses.

Programs offered

Powerlink know how critical it is to empower women to reach their leadership potential by providing corporate development programs focused around this aspect. They have a suite of internal and external career development programs on offer.

Internally, they have the Accelerate Women in Leadership and Mentoring Program. The program seeks to accelerate the development and careers of women at Powerlink, enabling them to be better prepared for career succession opportunities. The program creates dedicated spaces for connection, consideration, and growth, offering opportunities for women to fully realize their potential.  

External programs include Leading Edge and Executive Ready, both with Women & Leadership Australia (WLA). And partnering with Chief Executive Women (CEW), is another program called Leaders Program. 

All these programs build the capability and readiness of identified high potential women General Managers for executive leadership, creating a talent pool of ‘ready now’ women Executives. They also:

  • Identify and commit to areas for personal and professional development through the personal audit
  • Transform your leadership skills and enable career advancement and business success
  • Elevate the performance of your team through practical tools and strategies
  • Build powerful peer-level connections
Hear from their people

career development programs

I am very proud to say I have worked in the electricity industry for 33 years at Powerlink and its predecessor Queensland Electricity Commission. Powerlink has provided me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge across the organization at many levels. Over my working career, Powerlink has also been more than just my employer with many close friendships and support networks formed with my colleagues. Powerlink continues to provide opportunities to continuously learn and challenge myself.”

– Dana Boxall (she/her), Acting General Manager Health, Safety and Environment

Transgrid career development programs

What the company does

Transgrid provides safe, reliable, sustainable, and affordable electricity transmission services to more than 3.5 million homes and businesses across the Australian states of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. 

Programs offered

Meet the Energise Women’s Network! Energise has the purpose of building stronger connections and support for women at Transgrid. They focus their initiatives on supporting women to grow their networks and careers at Transgrid. 

What is Energise currently doing?! They’re launching a bespoke six month mentoring program that involves matching all their female electrical apprentices with technically trained, experienced women at Transgrid. The program will aid apprentices in their professional development, allow them to make connections with others from rural/regional areas, and guide them through challenges as they advance in their careers. 

 Transgrid also encourage any woman curious about a career in an electrical trade to check out their 12 week pre-apprenticeship program for women, run in partnership with Belmont TAFE each year. The program includes subjects that can be used as credit towards a Certificate III in Electrotechnology.

Hear from their people

career development programs

“The launch of our mentoring program in Orange on Monday night for our female apprentices was a huge success and the apprentices and their mentors are so excited about the program.”

– Julie Moss, Diversity Inclusion & Wellbeing Manager

Beon, CitiPower, Powercor Career development programs

& United Energy

What the company does

CitiPower, Powercor, and United Energy own and operate the electricity distribution networks servicing 1.9 million customers located across 65% of Victoria. Through Beon Energy Solutions, they’re also developing large-scale solar and wind farms, as well as building major power infrastructure.

They provide reliable, safe, and affordable electricity and their businesses are independently rated as the best in Australia for their efficiency.

Programs offered

To enrich and retain women they have an extensive range of learning and development programs including coaching, professional skills, business skills and targeted technical skills to support the career growth of all their employees. Their leadership programs are designed for people to build capabilities in managing self, taking the lead, enabling others, being strategy-focused and executing results. They range from introductory leadership programs to a Diploma in Management and masterclasses delivered through their partnership with Melbourne Business School.

They’re very proud to have sponsored eight key talented women to complete the Advanced Leadership Program run by Women & Leadership Australia. This is a 12-month program to support development and career growth.  

All their people leaders attend an Inclusion in Action workshop facilitated by Diversity Partners to provide leaders with the knowledge and tools to understand what actions they can take to enhance their ability to be a more inclusive leader.  

And to promote the development of those just beginning their career, they have a range of programs and scholarships including:

  • Apprenticeships and Traineeships
  • Pre-Apprenticeship Program with scholarships for women.
  • Graduate Programs and Summer Vacation Placements
  • Scholarships for women in Electrical Engineering Studies 

Their Women in Power network was formed in 2017 and is made up of a group of passionate women and men in the business who are working together to connect and empower women across the organization to be the best they can be. Key programs include an annual calendar of events such as International Women’s Day events, development sessions, and volunteering and networking opportunities focused on development and retention of women in our business.

Hear from their people

career development programs

“I’ve been amazed and pleased by the level of support and development available in this business. I’ve been both a mentor and a mentee through which I’ve been able to gain, but also give back. This is the sort of company where you can build your profession over decades and add value to the industry as we move through the energy transition.”

– Catherine Tuxen, 3rd Year Electrical Engineering Graduate

Have the employers above inspired you?

Be sure to see the other great diversity, equity, and inclusion work they’re doing by checking out their Endorsed Employer Pages.

Discover more about these Endorsed Employers

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About the Author

Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

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