Robyn Denholm Operating Partner at Blackbird welcomes students onto the virtual work experience programme

Solving for tech's biggest talent gap with Forage

Date Published:
February 4, 2022

We’re launching our first ever virtual work experience program with Forage, helping to supercharge the careers of Software Engineers into startups.

It’s never been a better time to be a Software Engineer - or a harder time to hire one. Today, there are more than 4000 open roles in Software Engineering across Australia, and engineering positions account for 18% of open roles in the Blackbird portfolio.

We wanted to help tackle that, so we’re excited to today launch Blackbird’s first ever virtual work experience program with Forage, helping to supercharge the careers of Software Engineers into startups.  

Forage designs custom built virtual work experiences to help pre-skill students and connect them with an internship or land their first job. With this program, they’re bringing all this expertise to nurture a pipeline of Software Engineering talent at the beginning of their careers (or wanting to transition) into startups.

There are three goals we want to achieve through the program:

  1. Inspire young engineers to join Australian startups and preskill them so they're prepared for working in a startup environment. 
  2. Increase the awareness of diverse startups in our portfolio, by showcasing their amazing work and potential career paths. 
  3. Funnel students into our Lilypad to help our portfolio startups  hire high potential pre-skilled Software Engineers.


We are positively brimming with excitement on the journey we are starting with this program, one that we hope will have an impact on hundreds, even thousands of students around the world. We’re even more excited that we’ve been able to co-create this program with one of our portfolio startups.  

So, how can you  benefit from the program?

  • Gain real work experience: Get deep insights into what it is actually like to work at some of our portfolio companies.
  • Earn a Certificate: When you complete the program, you’ll earn a personalised completion certificate to share with prospective employers and your professional network.
  • Make your CV and LinkedIn stand out: You’ll be able to include this experience on your CV and LinkedIn profile. Demonstrate that you’re pro-active, ambitious, hardworking and have developed relevant practical skills.
  • Join our LilypadAt the completion of the program, you can sign up to our exclusive portfolio hiring platform to help you get in front of founders and leapfrog into your dream job.


What does the program entail?

In this program, you’ll work through six tasks each corresponding to a different Blackbird portfolio company that reflect a day in the life of a Software Engineer in industries like drones, self-driving cars, healthcare, education and wifi..  You will help the engineering teams to collaborate using GitHub, find product market fit, contribute to a sprint retro and build skills in writing and verifying code and assessing cloud infrastructure. 

We were delighted to have 5 of our incredible startups contribute to the experience including Propeller, Baraja, HarrisonAI, MorseMicro and Forage.


Taste of the Tasks;

  1.  Collaborate using GitHub with Propeller
  2.  Build and verify your code with HarrisonAI
  3. Product/Market Fit and A/B Testing with Forage
  4. Contribute to a Sprint Retro with Baraja
  5. Utilise an Open Source Project with MorseMicro
  6. Asses Cloud Infrastructure with Forage


Whether you already have an idea about how you want to use your degree or are still exploring, the Blackbird Software Engineering Program will give you a taste of how a Software Engineering career with a startup can help you make a real impact on the world around you.


This year we want to reach thousands of students and help hundreds of them find an internship or land their dream job.


What are you waiting for, sign up here!