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Jarrad recognised for commitment to training

Jarrad Rogers has been recognised for his commitment to excellence, as the North Coast Vocational Student of the Year.

Sunshine Coast local Jarrad Rogers has been recognised for his commitment to achieving excellence in training, with the 34-year-old TAFE Queensland cyber security graduate taking out the title of Vocational Student of the Year at the North Coast regional final of the Queensland Training Awards.

Jarrad was one of 11 winners to receive an accolade, and will now advance to the state finals of the Queensland Training Awards, which are set to take place on Saturday 17 September.

Jarrad was grateful for the recognition and said he hoped to do the Sunshine Coast proud at the state awards.

“I was so surprised that I was lucky enough to win, it almost winded me. I never really thought my journey was that different to anyone else, so to be recognised and rewarded for my work is amazing,” Jarrad said.

“I’ve scouted out the other winners and I’m definitely up against some fantastic finalists in the state awards,” he laughed.

“I’m on the back foot a bit having just started a new company since being nominated, but I’m really hoping to get out in the community and do something worth being recognised for.

“It would be incredible to be recognised for my work at that level, but just getting to this point has been amazing.”

Jarrad completed a Certificate III in Information Technology (ICT30120) and a Certificate IV in Cyber Security (22334VIC) in just two years at TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus, after making the decision to leave his job of seven years as a civil engineering draftsman in order to pursue a career he is more passionate about.

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

“While I’d always enjoyed my work, I just found myself wanting a change in direction, and when I started working in identity protection and helping victims of cybercrime, I had this feeling of, ‘This is what I’m meant to be doing’.”

Upon graduating at the end of 2021, Jarrad gained employment with IDCARE, working with the charitable organisation to support Australians who had become victims of scams and cybercrimes by assisting them with recovery and mitigation of risk. He has since started his own business, Ident IT, through which he aims to use his expertise in the cyber security space to support local individuals and small businesses with assessing their vulnerabilities, mitigating the risks, and supporting the recovery of those impacted by cyber-crime.

“I developed a passion for assisting victims, but I really wanted to provide a greater level of assistance and a personal touch, and I feel like that starts at home. I really want to do what I can to help the local community first and foremost,” Jarrad said.

“My motivation stems from people close to me falling prey to these kinds of scams. If I can help people like my mum and dad, than that’s all the motivation I need.”

Jarrad said his business will offer a full range of services in the cyber security, with a strong focus on prevention that involves identifying the biggest threats to clients and providing them with the education and tools to protect themselves. However, he is also committed to supporting victims in recovering and taking back control.

“Victims can often feel embarrassed and don’t know who to talk to or where to start, so it’s my job to put them on the right path to fight back and ensure they don’t fall victim again,” Jarrad said.

“Many people think identifying scams is easy, but they don’t realise just how convincing they can be. Cyber criminals are getting increasingly smarter in their approach, so I’m making it my job to keep on top of the latest tactics and warn others.”

Also nominated from TAFE Queensland in the Queensland Training Awards North Coast regional final was Mooloolaba Mental Health Peer Work student Lewis Khan, who was a finalist in the Equity VET Student of the Year category, and Nambour graphic design teacher Gary Chapman, who was recognised as a finalist in the Vocational Teacher or Trainer of the Year category.

TAFE Queensland General Manager (East Coast region) Ana Rodger said the training provider was extremely proud of Jarrad’s achievement, and the recognition that Lewis and Gary had received through the awards.

“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing our students and staff excel in doing what they love most,” Mrs Rodger said.

“TAFE Queensland is committed to providing its students with the knowledge and practical skills they need to succeed, so to see Lewis and Gary selected from such an inspiring group of their peers as finalists, and to witness Jarrad being acknowledged on this scale for his passion, dedication, calibre, we can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride.”