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TAFE NSW graduate on path to career in cyber security

TAFE NSW Port Macquarie

TAFE NSW graduate on path to career in cyber security

A young woman who began her Information Technology studies with TAFE NSW at just 14 years old is on track to achieve her goal of working in cyber security, landing an IT job at a global company based in Port Macquarie.

Chiara Clarkson began her educational journey with a Certificate II in Information, Digital Media and Technology and has just finished her Diploma of Information Technology – with future goals of working in cyber security.

“The skills I learned through these studies mean I can design, debug and test web-based programs and network servers – as well as assess cyber risks and protections,” Miss Clarkson said.

She is now working at Birdon, a global shipbuilding company with a base in Port Macquarie. Birdon approached TAFE directly, asking for recommendations for talented students they could bring on board as they needed an ICT Support Officer. 

“TAFE has really strong connections with local industry and helped me get my foot in the door with potential employers,” Miss Clarkson said.

“I am so excited to be working in such a crucial role, particularly one where I am learning about so many aspects of Information Technology,” she said.

The most recent national STEM Gender Equity Report shows women only make up 27% of the workforce across all STEM industries. The Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN) estimates women comprise between 11% and 24% of the cybersecurity workforce. 

“As a young female studying in a male dominated area, I have really appreciated the support from my teachers at TAFE. They have mentored me, encouraged me, and given me confidence to succeed in this industry.”

Birdon Digital and ICT Strategy Manager Peter Ford says Chiara has already developed great foundational knowledge.

“We rely on our relationship with TAFE NSW to help build our workforce, as their graduates have a great practical skills base,” he said.

“In Miss Clarkson’s role, she is gaining experience of the modern technologies we work with – both in our offices and on our vessels. We are working on her career development, while expanding on her areas of interest, like cyber security.”

Birdon is a diversified global group of companies providing whole of life solutions to maritime, defence, infrastructure and resource sectors. Birdon is proudly Australian owned, operating nationally and across the globe.


Media contact: Lauren McAllister, Communications Specialist,, 02 7920 5000.