Cyber Games launching careers

Victorian secondary school students were given a glimpse into the dark world of cyber-attacks today, taking part in an immersive interschool competition designed to nurture the next generation of cyber-defenders.

This first taste of Cyber Games was given to 10 schools from Wodonga, Bendigo and metropolitan Melbourne.

Cyber Games is a collaboration between La Trobe University – which will be offering a Bachelor of Cybersecurity and a Master of Cybersecurity in 2018 – plus Cisco, Optus, the specialist science and mathematics centre at Quantum Victoria, the Science Teachers Association of Victoria and Life Journey/Day of STEM.

Also present at the day were advisers from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Pip Wyrdeman and Sandra Ragg, who were keen to see the direct link being created from secondary school to university and on to the workplace.

Two students excited by the prospect of a natural progression from school to uni then work were Alina Ermolaeva from St Margaret’s & Berwick Grammar and Fletcher Cutting from Viewbank College.

Alina said she enjoyed both the teamwork and the individual problem-solving during the Cyber Games day. “It was a great opportunity to work with the industry software used in cybersecurity,” she said. “Cyber and engineering are two areas I am particularly interested in.”

Fletcher, who is also strongly considering a career in cybersecurity, said it was good to see the software used in defending attacks. “Usually I’d be on the other side,” he quipped before chatting to La Trobe University cybersecurity lecturer Dr Paul Watters about the course.

Cisco Network Consulting Engineer Ahmad Jaber ran the cyber-attack simulator for the schools using real-life scenarios that progressively increased in complexity and difficulty.

The Cyber Games final will be held on 18 November with the 2017 champions receiving direct-entry offers to La Trobe University’s new Bachelor of Cybersecurity, when they finish secondary school and subject to achieving course prerequisites.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar says Cyber Games is part of the University’s commitment to provide students with the opportunities and skills they will need to work in cybersecurity – one of the world’s fastest-growing employment fields.

“There is a huge need for a new workforce of cyber defenders,” said Professor Dewar. “This initiative will not only educate a new generation of cyber-literate students, it will also help close the gap on a looming skills shortage.

“Cyber Games will simulate real-world threat scenarios for these secondary school students, who we hope will go on to study cybersecurity at La Trobe University and perhaps then work for Cisco, Optus or any of our other business partners.”

The initiative was welcomed by Soula Bennett, the President of the Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria and Director of Quantum Victoria, who said what a great career option cybersecurity was becoming.

Managing Director of Optus Business John Paitaridis said: “Optus and La Trobe University have a joint-commitment to build the skills of the future for the knowledge economy. Initiatives like Cyber Games deliver interactive and innovative learning opportunities in cyber education and exciting game-changing ways in which we can connect and engage whilst creating pathways for our youth into the jobs of the future.”

School participants today were Bendigo Senior Secondary College, Camberwell Grammar, Charles La Trobe College, Mac.Robertson Girls’ High, Melbourne Girls’ College, Northcote High School, St Kevin’s College, St Margaret’s & Berwick Grammar, Viewbank College and Wodonga Senior SC.

Media Contacts: Tim Newhouse – t.newhouse@latrobe.edu.au – 94792315 / 0416306759

Tim Mitchell – t.mitchell@latrobe.edu.au – 94795246

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