Ian Hunter (WelTec’s School of Business & IT); Alisdair McKenzie (I S Assurance Services and IT IPC Member); Alexander Sokolov (Student) ; Ruslan Levenets (Student) ; Mike Binkhorst (ISACA – Wellington Chapter)



A former lawyer and nuclear physicist have made big changes, moving to New Zealand to re-train in ICT and receiving top student awards in the process.  Both WelTec graduates were recognised at a ceremony held last night in Wellington.

Ruslan Levenets, who originally studied a Bachelor of Laws in Moscow before working in the field, decided it was time for a change.  “I had some practical skills and interest in IT and my main motivation for study was to have a strong theoretical background. Without a diploma, without that background, it is hard to grow professionally,” says Ruslan.

Last night Ruslan received the award for most outstanding student in the Graduate Diploma in Information Assurance and Security.  The award was sponsored by ISACA, an international professional association focused on IT governance.  Ruslan is now working on information security at Liquid IT. “Forensics was my favourite subject at WelTec, the toughest but most satisfying,” says Ruslan.

Mike Binkhorst, president of the Wellington chapter of ISACA, says the organisation is very pleased to support top students.  “We're keen to encourage people into the profession to make a difference in the field.  ISACA promotes frameworks and standards in IT to improve governance and security.  Education and supporting the next generation is a big part of that,” says Mike.

Alexander Sokolov was the most outstanding student in the Graduate Diploma in Information Technology.  He received his award from I S Assurance Services.  When Alex first came to WelTec, he also began working at a start-up company called Publons which has created a website that helps academic researchers showcase peer review activity.

“I joined the company the month I started the programme at WelTec. I'd studied nuclear physics and had worked in IT overseas so had some experience.  The idea behind Publons is to gain recognition not only for the papers you write but your peer review activity as well.  My job title is database analyst, but being a small company the job encompasses much more,” says Alex.

Alisdair McKenzie, principal consultant at I S Assurance Services and a member of WelTec’s IT Industry Partnership Committee, who presented the award is also a past president of ISACA.  “We work to ensure that the tertiary education sector is harmonised with business and industry requirements,” says Alisdair. “WelTec’s Industry Partnership Committee offers guest lectures, a number of firms take interns and we review WelTec's IT programmes so they deliver what the industry is needing.”

Ian Hunter, from WelTec’s School of Business & IT says the involvement of industry associations and companies makes a significant difference for students such as Ruslan and Alex.  “It means our students are working on real scenarios and real problems as part of their academic programme,” says Ian.


Media Contact: 
Caryn Ellis -  0273014674