Cyber resilience starts at school
With the help of Services Australia’s Cyber Security Division, a group of year 12 Lake Tuggeranong College students have written a cyber-attack training package that will be part of the school’s curriculum from 2021.
Teenagers studying year 12 across the country have had it tough this year. But a group of inspiring students from Lake Tuggeranong College have left their legacy for future generations of cyber experts.
Five students, with the help of their teacher and a team of cyber security professionals from Services Australia, are developing a cyber attack training package. This will be part of the college’s curriculum from 2021.
For the last three years, Lake Tuggeranong College students have participated in the agency’s Cyber Services Division work experience program.
The collaboration is an important investment in the country’s future cyber resilience and the students’ personal and academic development.
In a year like no other, the agency and college worked together to develop this project, as an alternative program for this year due to coronavirus restrictions.
Thanks to this partnership, Lake Tuggeranong College was able to offer the project as an extracurricular activity outside of regular classes.
The project supports the students understanding of cyber security as a career choice, and equips them with skills for the future.
Kyle Price had a keen interest in cyber security before he started the project, so jumped at the unique opportunity to work with his peers and gain new skills. The kind you can’t get in a traditional classroom.
“My interest in the industry really grew when I was able to apply my existing knowledge in practical terms,” Kyle said.
“I’ve developed my interpersonal and organisation skills, and I’m learning new technologies that I otherwise wouldn’t have used – common technologies in the cyber industry.”
As the digital services Australians rely on every day grow in sophistication, so too do cyber threats. Its vital organisations continue to learn, grow and invest in a skilled and capable workforce.
According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) one in three Australian adults were impacted by cyber-crime in 2019. On average, the ACSC’s ReportCyber tool received a cyber-crime report every 10 minutes.
The most common category of cybercrime reported is ‘fraud’ (39%), which relates to criminals obtaining benefit through deception, such as investment, shopping or romance scams.
Teacher Graham Cassells said this ongoing partnership supports the student’s future in the industry.
“The students are learning to work in groups, plan and meet deadlines and work independently without guidance from teachers,” Graham said.
“Participation in this project helps to build the skills that students can add to their CVs to boost their employability when applying for jobs.
“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.”
James Turner is the managing director of CISO Lens, an organisation that facilitates collaboration among the Chief Information Security Officers from Australia’s largest organisations to support the country’s cyber resilience.
“Partnerships, like the one between Services Australia and Lake Tuggeranong College, are integral to the industry,” Mr Turner said.
“They remind people that cyber security is real.
“To show a student a world class cyber operation that’s happening in their neighbourhood is incredibly valuable. Unless young people have an adult in their life working in cyber security, it could remain an abstract concept to them.
“Seeing the people and the places where the action happens, that opens a door to imagination.”
Lake Tuggeranong College student Dylan Soesman said the project with Services Australia has reinforced his aspirations to work in cyber security.
“My goal has been to do as much as I can to increase my chances of getting into the industry,” Dylan said.
“The work I’ve done on this project inspired me to apply for the Digital Apprenticeship Program through the Digital Transformation Agency”.
During the three month project, Services Australia’s cyber experts met with the students for regular mentoring, where they could ask questions and get one on one support.
In between the mentoring sessions, the experts were available virtually, through a series of online catch-ups, giving the students a taste of the workplace reality in 2020.
Three out of the five students involved in the project have applied for the Digital Apprenticeship Program through the Digital Transformation Agency.
These students can be proud, that during one of the toughest years, they gave themselves a real career edge, and passed on some invaluable skills to future students.
For information on work experience opportunities with Services Australia, please visit: servicesaustralia.gov.au/work-experience-pathways to register your interest.
We also offer a National Graduate Program for recent university graduates. More information is available at: servicesaustralia.gov.au/national-graduate-program
Information about the Digital Transformation Agency’s Digital Apprenticeship Program can be found here: dta.gov.au/help-and-advice/learning-and-development/start-your-digital-career-government/digital-apprenticeship-program