Article by Kate Stewart, Head of Education Partnerships – Telstra.
We’re excited to expand our partnership with the Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) program, following the Federal Government’s announcement of a new cyber security-focused P-TECH pilot site at Camberwell High School in Melbourne. We’ve seen this program help the students of our partner school McCarthy Catholic College in Sydney and look forward to giving more students the opportunity to develop an interest and skills in technology.
Jobs in the future are going to be very different from the jobs of today, and with this will be increased demand for skills not traditionally taught in the classroom. Cyber security, for example, is one of the nation’s fastest-growing sectors with around 11,000 additional jobs in cyber security set to emerge over the next 10 years.
It’s therefore crucial we look ahead to the skills and knowledge that today’s students will need in the jobs that await them. That’s why in 2020, Camberwell High School will offer a cyber security-focused P-TECH program to its students.
P-TECH helps technology industry partners like us establish long-term relationships with education providers to give high school students a foundational education in STEM-focused learning. It also facilitates real-world experience for students so they’re exposed to the world of work and can meet role models who’ve carved out their own technology careers. And it provides a pathway to a diploma or degree, and a career in technology. It’s one way we’re contributing to the education of Australia’s future workforce and encouraging more young people to consider and pursue a technology pathway that extends beyond school.
With a focus on cyber security, our work with Camberwell High students intends to provide practical experience in threat mitigation through demonstrations at the school, access to our cyber security specialists to share their experiences and talk about their careers, and opportunities for relevant work placements here at Telstra.
Camberwell High is the second school we’re working with as part of our involvement in the P-TECH program, following McCarthy Catholic College in Western Sydney. We began working with them in early 2018 and since then have given the students the chance to develop their collaboration and design thinking skills during ‘immersion days’ onsite at the school each year. We’ve also held annual Telstra office tours where students visited one of our security operations centres and checked out the latest technology in our Customer Insight Centre. We’ve flown drones together, spoken to students and parents at school subject selection market nights, attended open days and more.
McCarthy Catholic College P-TECH students also recently completed work experience with us as part of their IT-focused studies. The students had the opportunity to work with our engineering and IT teams, and to understand the important role our retail store teams play in helping customers with their services and technology.
Nicholas, a McCarthy student in the P-TECH program, said his time at Telstra was new and exciting. “Day one at Telstra I had the chance to reimage a laptop for the first time and also learn how to enrol a new device on the corporate network. I’m really excited that Telstra partners with our school – access to a big corporation like this is invaluable, from what we can learn to the people we can meet.
“In the past, Telstra has come to our school to show us different technologies and how they work, and is now giving us the chance to do work experience and learn new things. The hot desking here is something I haven’t experienced before – it’s different!”
As an organisation preparing for the future of work, we need to ensure our country’s future workforce is built on a foundation of STEM education as well as essential skills like communication, problem solving and collaboration. We’re excited to work with Camberwell High School in Melbourne to deliver the future-focused benefits of the P-TECH program and we’re looking forward to the expansion of the program to more education institutions and partners across the country in the future.
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