Information-security vendors have put their strong support behind a new national effort to boost science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, with six strong IT-security brands actively supporting the top-down effort to increase student interest and participation in STEM-related career pathways.
The move, which represents an Australianised instantiation of the popular LifeJourney program first offered in the United States, was launched on today's 'Day of STEM', which was marked with a new Web site and offers students a range of resources that highlight daily life in a range of careers. The program includes mentoring by Australian STEM leaders, who are reaching out to potential future recruits in an effort to paint a more engaging picture of what STEM-related careers actually involve.
Initial security-related partners for the Australian initiative include Cisco Systems – which has long linked skills development with Australia's economic future and warned in March that there may be 1m security vacancies worldwide – BAE, Kaspersky, Symantec – which recently bought two security firms to promote security-skills education – as well as Lockheed Martin and Trustwave. Other launch partners include Westpac, Twitter, SAS, Telstra, Females in Information Technology & Telecommunication (FITT), La Trobe University, and Deloitte.
The strong support of IT firms reflects the ongoing IT skills crisis, which has been particularly felt in the security industry for years as IT security gains prominence as a business and technological priority. Security-research organisations like the Australian Centre for Cyber Security have been vocal in their concerns about skills availability even as consultancies like Securus Global get creative around recruiting and the likes of Interpol push for IT-security skills to become more broadly and well understood.
“Building up the next generation of cyber security professionals and talent requires industry collaboration, and Trustwave supports LifeJourney’s global movement inspiring students to pursue STEM studies and careers,” Steve Kelley, senior vice president of product and corporate marketing at Trustwave, said in a statement.
“Trustwave was a founding sponsor of LifeJourney in the United States, and we’re proud to support their expansion efforts in Australia to further develop talent and education initiatives around cyber security and managed security services.”
Cisco ANZ vice president Ken Boal was equally vocal in his support: “We believe it’s important for the youth of today to see just how varied, exciting and valuable their career options are if they pursue STEM subjects in school and university,” he said in a statement. “Every student deserves a mentor and we are thrilled to be part of Australia’s National Day of STEM and the drive to build the STEM IQ of our nation.”
Students, teachers, and parents are encouraged to register online to participate in the free program at www.dayofstem.com.au.
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