Opportunity knocks for Tallara in regional Australia


“The cybersecurity side of it is definitely new to me, and really interesting.”


In the popular imagination, life in the country is frequently romanticized but the reality can be less rosy. Small country towns have their advantages, but they can also pose challenges, such as a limited number of opportunities for young people.

Tallara (Tully) was born and raised in one such town called Yass, around 280km southwest of Sydney, Australia.

“Being from the country I've only worked in retail jobs,” says Tully, “and at high school I got into hospitality just because that's easy work in Yass. There are lots of restaurants and things… that's why I went into that.”

New opportunities in tech

A series of fortunate circumstances opened new opportunities for Tully in tech.

She had stayed in contact with her high-school teacher, Trish Young, who had moved on to Cisco Networking Academy partner Kirra Services as Training Program Manager. Kirra is a Supply Nation Certified Indigenous IT business that aims to increase opportunities for Indigenous participation in the IT industry.

“We have to fill thousands of roles within the ICT and Cyber industry in the immediate future,” says Trish, “and we want the new workforce to include opportunities for members of rural and Indigenous communities.”

“Tully was a little lost as what to do after graduating year 12,” says Trish. “As I know that she is organised and has a wonderful ability to like to help people, I thought she might enjoy training in the cybersecurity field.”

“Trish reached out to me and said they have this program running,” says Tully, “I jumped on that and it’s got me going!”

Junior Cybersecurity Analyst pathway program

Kirra Services is facilitating the delivery of the Junior Cybersecurity Analyst pathway program, as well as some additional units as requested by individual participants. Tully started studying in the Kirra office in Canberra, around an hour away, and is now studying remotely, though she says she goes to the office every couple of weeks, “just to get some help if I get stuck on something and a bit of support.”

“Trish checks in with me most days to see what I'm doing and see how I keep going along with it,” she says. “She keeps me on track!”

“I did a little bit of IT work through school”, says Tully, “but the cybersecurity side of it is definitely new to me, and really interesting.”

“I think the way it is set up and how the modules are set out have been very helpful,” she says. “It’s really easy to keep track of, and very clear as to where you are up to in each course. It’s been really good to have such clarity with it when I'm not in a classroom setting, when I'm at home.”

Giving back to indigenous communities

The experience has already seen Tully helping remote indigenous communities with a trip to Lake Cargelligo, nearly 600km west of Sydney, to help get people online.

“Connectivity here is a mixed bag,” says Tully. “I think some in the community are definitely struggling in terms of that, especially the older people in the community. It is intimidating to try and reach out and ask for the support, especially with trying to connect phones and set up SIM cards and things like that. I think they shy away from it because it seems intimidating. But to have someone younger, like myself, I think helps a lot with that. I can talk them through it. Get it going for them.”

“I have Indigenous heritage on my dad's side. It's been a big thing. And even just living in Yass you see the community having struggles with these sort of things,” she says. “So it's been a big thing to be able to come out here, and obviously I can relate a little bit with them out here as well.”

Massive job opportunities

Despite having yet to finish her studies, Tully has also been interviewing for jobs. “I've had a couple of job interviews, which have come from having started the training,” she says. “I had a job interview a half an hour ago with the public service in Canberra, so it's been massive for me. It's been such a big thing!”

“I think it would be obviously my goal to do this kind of community work,” says Tully of her time at Lake Cargelligo. “This is my first time coming out to do this sort of work, but it's so rewarding just to be with people—I love being with people—it's been really awesome.”

It’s enthusiastic and well-trained young people like Tully who will help bridge the digital divide faced by remote rural and Indigenous communities in Australia, bringing connectivity and opportunities they may have never imagined existed.



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