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Jarrad helps Australians reclaim their identities

Jarrad Rogers is helping Australians and New Zealanders impacted by cybercrime to reclaim their identities and feel safe online, after JobTrainer funding enabled him to pursue his lifelong passion for information technology.

In just two short years, 34-year-old Sunshine Coast local Jarrod Rogers has completed qualifications in information technology and cyber security at TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus and forged a rewarding career in cyber security.

Having spent nearly seven years as a civil engineering draftsman, Jarrad had lost interest in his job and had quit with the intent to travel before starting down a new career path. But when the global pandemic resulted in the closure of international borders, Jarrad was forced to reassess his plans.

Choosing to see the silver lining in the situation, Jarrad set out to develop his skills in an industry he’d long felt drawn to, but had never had the time to pursue. In 2020, he completed a Cyber Security Essentials (MCC00014) micro-credential through TAFE Queensland’s Isolearn initiative, as well as a Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology (now Certificate III in Information Technology [ICT30120]) and a Certificate IV in Cyber Security (22334VIC) under the State Government’s Certificate III Guarantee program.

“When my plans to travel fell through, I thought now is as good a time as any to reboot and follow my passion,” Jarrad said.

“I’ve always loved gaming and that ignited my interest in computers. It’s an interest that has never really stopped growing."

“I’d previously done a CAD [computer aided design] drafting course at TAFE Queensland’s Nambour campus and knew I was better suited to that style of learning, so when I went to enrol, I knew TAFE was the right path for me.”

Following the introduction of JobTrainer funding — a State and Federal Government initiative that allows eligible candidates to get qualified in high-priority skills areas for free or low cost — Jarrad was then able to complete a Certificate IV in Cyber Security (22334VIC) and gain the skills he needed to really kick-start his career.

“I was someone who had left a great career with the hope of travelling when COVID had hit. Without JobTrainer I wouldn’t have been able to get to where I am now — not for a few more years at least.”

Jarrad has since gained employment with IDCARE, a charitable organisation that supports victims of scams and cybercrimes by assisting them with recovery and mitigation of risk. It’s a role he finds incredibly rewarding.

“My interest in cyber security comes from my parents and a desire to protect them. They are living in a digital age but have no background or understanding of how dangerous it can be, which makes them vulnerable to online threats,” he said.

“There are a lot of vulnerable people out there like that, and people that will try to take advantage of them. And from my experience and education, I know the potential these crimes have to damage people; they are often left searching for answers and feeling shame and sadness that they were taken advantage of."

“But when I finish speaking with them, they feel reassured that there are people willing to help, and they leave with a greater ability to protect themselves from it happening again, which gives them back their confidence. And most times that service assists them in identifying the crime they were victim to and provides them the pathway to mitigate the risks they are facing.”

Jarrad’s goal is to continue working with IDCARE and making a difference on the front line of cyber security. He hopes to one day move into a role where he can help find and address scams and trends before they have the chance to impact the people he works with on a daily basis.

“If I can get there and stop these crimes from getting to the people who reach out to me in the first place, I can help protect more people.”

According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s 2020-21 Annual Cyber Threat Report, more than 67,500 cybercrimes were reported in the 2020-2021 financial year — a nearly 13 per cent increase on the previous year.

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has projected that demand for skilled ICT security specialists in Australia will increase by nearly 20 per cent between 2020 and 2025, providing plenty of opportunities for tech-savvy locals to pursue a career protecting businesses and individuals from cybercrime. And with the Certificate IV in Cyber Security (22334VIC) currently subsidised for eligible Queenslanders under JobTrainer funding, there’s never been a better time to set yourself on the path to a successful career in information and communication technology (ICT).