Services Australia’s school program teaches kids cyber security skills

By Shannon Jenkins

Monday November 30, 2020

Image: Services Australia

A work experience program run by Services Australia has helped a group of year 12 students develop a cyber-attack training package that will be included in their school’s curriculum from 2021, and has inspired them to consider a career in cyber security.

This year, five students from Canberra’s Lake Tuggeranong College participated in the agency’s Cyber Services Division work experience program, which has been running at the school for three years.

The three-month project equips students with important skills for the future and helps them see cyber security as a potential career choice, according to Services Australia.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year Services Australia and the college worked together to develop the initiative as an alternative program, and the school was able to offer the project as an extracurricular activity outside of regular classes.

The project involved Cyber Security Division staff meeting with the students for regular one-on-one mentoring sessions, and through a series of online catch-ups.

Teacher Graham Cassells told Services Australia the partnership teaches students how to work in groups, plan and meet deadlines, and work independently, and supports their futures in the cyber security industry.

“Participation in this project helps to build the skills that students can add to their CVs to boost their employability when applying for jobs,” he said.

“The effort and commitment that Services Australia puts into their work experience program is cutting edge. It’s a model that all agencies should look at and get involved in.”

Three out of the five students involved in the project have since applied for the Digital Transformation Agency’s Digital Apprenticeship Program. The program offers participants industry experience, the opportunity to complete a Certificate IV or diploma in a digital or technology-related field paid for by the government, and permanent government employment.

Lake Tuggeranong College student Dylan Soesman said the Cyber Services Division project has “inspired” him to apply for the apprenticeship program.

“My goal has been to do as much as I can to increase my chances of getting into the industry,” Soesman said.

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