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Tag: education

Building cyber-safe communities through libraries

Telstra Foundation

Posted on March 5, 2018

3 min read

A library is a community institution, a place almost all of us would have visited at some time in our lives. Increasingly, these vibrant knowledge centres are playing a key role to bridge the digital divide, by connecting communities to the online world. Over the past six years, this transition has been supported through eSmart Libraries, a unique and ambitious partnership between the Telstra Foundation and the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.

The partnership is an acknowledgement of the key role libraries play to bridge the digital divide, by connecting young people and communities to the online world safely, smartly and responsibly. As well as promoting safe behaviour online, it improves digital literacy and teaches skills around social media and digital copyright.

The eSmart framework was designed to equip staff and visitors with the skills they need for smart, safe and responsible use of digital technology. The Telstra Foundation has committed $8 million to the project and aims to improve online safety through the 1500 public libraries in Australia.

Seventy percent of libraries are now participating in the program, which was developed from a holistic and evidence-based approach, to look at how the library and community can develop smart, safe and responsible digital behaviours.

Jenny Musty is a librarian at a rural eSmart Library and says the program has enabled staff to offer help and advice to parents whose children are victims of cyberbullying.

“Recently we had an incident where we knew a child was communicating with someone they shouldn’t have been via computer. They were skipping school and our staff felt confident in dealing with that situation by contacting the school, making sure they were aware of what was happening and following up on that and making sure the child was safe.

“That was a really good outcome and I believe that child had a better outcome because of us picking up that situation and being more aware and confident,” Ms. Musty said.

A recent evaluation shows it to be one of the most highly-rated programs ever undertaken in Australian libraries, with 100 percent of surveyed library managers recommending the program. 93 percent of library staff reported improved knowledge on how to assist community members to stay safe online.

“eSmart has helped to reinforce the library staff role, it is about technology and supporting people and making sure everyone is comfortable.

“I think libraries have played a key role in assisting people to use technology, right through from when email was first thought of – and we’re in an excellent position to provide education and support in all facets, including all the downsides and the pitfalls of technology,” Ms. Musty said.

In the 21st century, it is clear that librarians’ roles are evolving, from not just assisting individual customers but to tackling wider societal problems. The success of eSmart Libraries comes down librarians having the skills and the technology available to them to solve problems.

This year, Safer Internet Day is all about R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Telstra Foundation

Posted on February 6, 2018

1 min read

Happy Safer Internet Day! This is a day where hundreds of organisations, including Telstra, from 130 countries band together to help raise awareness about how we can make the online world a safer place. That’s a lot of people power.

This year’s theme is about showing respect for others online, and we thought we’d get up close and personal – because when it comes down to it, online respect starts with all of us.

Safer Internet Day is a great reminder to reflect on our own online behaviours – when we email, text, post on our social feeds, like, upload and download. We’ve pulled together five questions – with no judgement, but just a little bit of self-reflection. How many can you say yes to?

New TAFE cyber security training courses will grow high-tech skills

Cyber Security Business tips

Posted on January 25, 2018

2 min read

People are a critical part of the cyber security equation, and today marks the launch of new training options for individuals looking to train or upskill in cyber security.

We’re proud to support Australia’s first national skills-based cyber security Certificate and Diploma level qualifications to be delivered by TAFEs across the country.

As Australia’s leading telecommunications and technology company, we understand that the internet and connectivity are fundamental to the lives of all Australians and the ongoing prosperity of our economy – and strong cyber security capabilities to protect this connectivity are critical.

These new training options are a welcome step in upskilling professionals and broadening the base of cyber security-skilled individuals, so organisations large and small can harness the potential the internet provides and help organisations manage the business critical risk of cyber security.

We have been a proud contributor to the development of the cyber security Certificate and Diploma-level qualifications offered by TAFE institutions around Australia. We recognise the need to upskill professionals, and equip a larger number of individuals across organisations both large and small with cyber security knowledge.

We’ll also actively recruit graduates from these qualifications into our Cyber Security team, whose mission is to protect the privacy and security of our customer and corporate data and network. We’re always on the lookout for curious people who love security, and these new training options grow the pipeline of skilled and educated cyber security professionals.

The Certificate IV in Cyber Security 22334VIC and Advanced Diploma of Cyber Security 22445VIC courses are practical, non-degree courses. They are available for enrolment at Box Hill Institute (VIC), Canberra Institute of Technology (ACT), TAFE NSW, TAFE QLD, TAFE WA (SMT & NMT), and TAFE SA from 2018.

TasTAFE and Charles Darwin University (NT) are committed to providing cyber security training, and will work closely with industry in their respective jurisdictions to plan implementation of these programs in 2018, in line with other states and territories.

Find out more about the courses here.

Why industry needs to play a greater role in shaping our education system

Business and Enterprise Advice

Posted on January 17, 2018

3 min read

Demand for digital skills is growing around the world as businesses digitise their operations. But the supply of talent with relevant skills is not keeping up with this demand.

Research Telstra commissioned from the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) this year found that talent and skills shortages are amongst the two toughest challenges businesses around the world face in pursuing digital transformation. While 57 percent of executives surveyed across 45 cities think their city’s schools and universities do an effective job at turning out the talent firms need to drive digitisation, more than 40 percent said otherwise.

Digital security and advanced data analytics are identified as the two most critical skills needed for transformation, with ‘softer’ leadership skills such as networking and customer focus also a top priority.

With digital skills top of mind for business leaders around the globe, why isn’t the volume of talent keeping pace – and what can be done to change this?

One issue is the narrow pathways into technology-related careers. Although high-quality universities and other institutes are generating a growing volume of graduates with technology skills that fit the needs of companies, it’s simply not enough to keep pace with demand.

In today’s fast-changing workplace, there’s a greater need to create vocational pathways for high school students that are focused on technology in addition to traditional trade and technical careers.

Telstra is involved in a number of programs to address key skills gaps, including the Business Technology Services Academy, which is training future network and security talent as part of a three-year training program. More recently, we have also become involved in the Australian Government’s P-TECH program.

P-TECH is an innovative program that creates partnerships between schools and industry to strengthen young peoples’ employment prospects by equipping them with skills like coding and data analytics, and building interest in STEM subjects. It will also help create the defined career pathways that will carry today’s high schoolers into technology careers.

We are proud to be working with McCarthy Catholic College in Western Sydney as part of the P-TECH program. Over the course of 2018, we will contribute to the school’s curriculum and spend time with students at a number of interactive sessions.

Members of our team will take part in sessions at McCarthy Catholic College to help students get a real-world sense of the topics they’re studying, and learning will extend beyond the classroom too. Most recently, McCarthy College’s students completed an interactive tour of Telstra’s office in Sydney where they learned about the business by observing work in progress, met employees, and got to see first-hand some of our technology.

Central to P-TECH’s value is that it offers an alternative and practical route for students. Instead of going the university route, programs like these can help young people to pursue a career in technology straight out of high school.

Of course, universities will continue to play a key role in nurturing talent. But in this time of digital skills deficit, it’s a good chance to think outside the box. Industry can help with this at a grass-roots level by stepping up to facilitate these practical, hands-on experiences. It makes good business sense to invest in the development of future talent.

Read more about what else we’re doing to close the skills gap.

Digital inclusion: Understanding Australia’s digital divide

Sustainability

Posted on August 1, 2017

5 min read

The internet generates extraordinary social, cultural and economic benefits for Australians, but we know that these benefits are not equally shared. Almost three million Australians are not online, and many more are not able to take full advantage of online services. For those who are not connected, the consequences of exclusion are increasing as our essential educational, health, and social services move online.

The Australian Digital Inclusion Index provides our most complete picture yet of Australia’s digital divide. As a source of evidence and a guide for action, the Index shows us where digital inclusion is improving and where more needs to be done. The Index breaks digital inclusion down into three critical dimensions: access to data and internet services; affordability; and digital ability — the skills and capacities of users.

The latest 2017 data from the Index shows that across all these dimensions, digital inclusion is increasing in Australia. That is good news. But the Index results also show how the level of digital inclusion among Australians varies greatly. Across regions, and across our social and economic geography, there are groups of Australians who are substantially less connected than others. And in many cases, digital exclusion is linked closely to social exclusion and disadvantage. For some Australians — those who are older, and those on lower incomes — the gaps between them and others are increasing.

In our 2017 report on the Index we take a closer look at some groups of Australians who are less connected than others. This includes Indigenous Australians, for whom the gap has narrowed over the last three years, and Australians with a disability, who still have relatively low digital inclusion. We also looked more closely at  mobile only internet users, who have no fixed internet access. Of course, smart phones offer great advantages for users, but there are limits to what people can do with mobiles. Despite all the benefits of mobile internet, levels of digital inclusion are much lower for mobile only users than for Australians overall, with mobile-only consumers linked closely to socio-economic factors such as lower levels of income and employment.

 

The Index shows how the digital inclusion challenge is evolving – affordability and digital ability are clearly as important as access. Our findings on affordability may surprise some readers. The Index shows that the value of internet services has improved across Australia, meaning that data-per-dollar has increased each year for consumers over the four years of the survey. It’s important to note that when we measure affordability we are not only looking at the cost of data, we are also interested in the proportion of household income dedicated to this service. So, although prices have declined, Australians are using more data, increasing their number of services, and therefore spending more on the internet.

The result reflects the degree to which the internet has become an integral part of everyday life - we are doing more online; we are doing an increasing range of things online; and, in many households, we are connecting with an increasing number of devices. For middle income and better-off Australians, this is unlikely to be a problem. But for lower income households, especially those on fixed incomes, affordability is an important issue, and one we should monitor carefully.

Digital ability is another key area for discussion with the release of the 2017 Index report. What is digital ability? It’s what people can actually do online, and therefore how they can benefit from being connected. When we look at digital ability, we are considering people’s sense of control and security; their basic skills in accessing information and managing transactions; and their capacity in more complex tasks.

Our report shows that digital ability varies considerably across the population, but is generally improving from a low base. However, it is improving slowly, reflecting the challenges for many Australians in keeping up with technology. We believe that digital ability is a critical area for support and attention because we know that, with assistance, this is a domain where strong improvements are possible. Valuable programs are already making a difference — Telstra’s Tech Savvy Seniors is an example.

The value of the Index lies in the assistance it can provide in targeting and shaping future work. It can help guide future policy and action by improving the evidence base and sharpening our focus. As technology drives further transformations in life and work, digital inclusion will become an increasingly important issue for all of us.

 

Digital inclusion and Telstra

We believe that everyone – regardless of age, income, ability or location – should enjoy the benefits of being connected to modern communications technology. Telstra has long been focused on addressing digital inclusion and our Everyone Connected programs aim to empower all Australians to enjoy the benefits that new communication technologies bring.

In FY17 we reached more than 63,000 people through our digital literacy programs, including Tech Savvy Seniors training sessions for older Australians and InDigiMob, which is establishing a network of Indigenous digital mentors in remote Northern Territory communities. Through our Access for Everyone program Telstra helps people on a low income or facing financial hardship to stay connected, last financial year, the benefit provided by our programs for vulnerable customers was $87.7 million. Out Telstra Kids Digital Futures has been rolling-out more than 40 digital projects for young people in regional areas right across Australia, to build the skills they need in the future.

Find out more how we’re working to address the digital divide and Telstra’s Everyone Connected programs at https://exchange.telstra.com.au/digital-inclusion/.

 

Download the Australia Digital Inclusion Index Report at digitalinclusionindex.org.au/report.