AustCyber Mentors Program coded for success

South Australia’s next generation of cyber leaders can now take a shortcut in the state’s growing cyber sector, by connecting with industry experts.

The SA Cyber Edition Mentoring Program, facilitated by the AustCyber SA Node and mentoring matchmaking company OK RDY, provides cyber trainees with industry mentors to help them better understand the cyber ecosystem and opportunities available in the sector.

Launched in June 2020, the program was initially designed to support the state’s first cohort of cyber security trainees through TAFE SA. In 2021, the scope has been broadened to also include students studying cyber security at any South Australian university.

This expanded program has seen over 130 students onboarded and connected to resources in the cyber ecosystem.

Paula Oliver, Manager of the AustCyber SA Node, said the initiative is designed to help foster a thriving and connected cyber ecosystem in South Australia.

“Participants are encouraged to network, ask questions and discover more about the careers, companies, roles and the cyber ecosystem,” Paula said.

“The program is also seeking volunteer mentors from Australia’s cyber community to help build the capacity of trainees and the broader cyber security student community, so they can access the many opportunities available in the cyber sector.”

Each student is matched with a mentor who has a strong understanding of the cyber industry and who can share their career experience specific to the goals of the mentee.

Defence SA Chief Executive, Richard Price, said the program allows cyber experts in the defence industry to engage with students to ensure they better understand the skills they need to evolve.

“In order to be part of our state’s booming Defence supply chain, entry into the Defence Industry Security Program is a key requirement which includes cybersecurity,” he said.

“This mentoring program not only provides mentors with the opportunity to guide and provide advice to emerging cyber experts entering the defence sector, but it gives young professionals a foot in the door to a lifelong career in one of this state’s fastest growing industries.”

Chief Executive Officer and founder of OK RDY, Tim McKay explained that participants are encouraged to network, ask questions about career pathways, companies, and discover more about the growing cyber ecosystem.

“Mentoring can be as simple as a one-off chat to network, share insights or learn about a company and if there’s a good mentoring match then the mentorship can become ongoing and more structured with regular meetings to help progress a specific goal,” he said.

“Each mentorship is a unique experience and we often hear from mentors that by supporting a mentee they learn a lot about themselves and grow their own skills in the process.”

The initiative has been welcomed by industry, with Salesforce, Microsoft, CISCO, CyberCX, Telstra, AustCyber and Dtex all extending their support for the program.

The SA Node together with OK RDY are now preparing to enrol the 2021 cohort of students, with Expressions of Interest for mentors and mentees to take part in the refreshed program commencing in June 2021.

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