Denham Sadler
January 24, 2018

National plan for cyber studies

Skills

National plan for cyber studies

Craig Davies: The national cyber curriculum is a huge boost to capability

Nationwide TAFE cybersecurity qualifications have officially been launched in a “significant step forward” in combating the industry’s ever-growing skills gap.

The National Cybersecurity TAFE Qualifications were launched by Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Angus Taylor and Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews at Parliament House on Thursday morning.

Australian TAFEs in every state and territory will now deliver the same Certificate and Diploma-level cybersecurity qualifications from this year. The courses will feature a range of hands-on training in the workforce, along with mentoring from industry leaders and cybersecurity experts.

Cybercrime is now said to cost Australia’s economy about $17 billion per year, leading to increased demand for cybersecurity specialists in across nearly all industries. Australian businesses will need at least 11,000 additional workers over the next decade to meet existing demand.

Angus Taylor said the nationally aligned TAFE qualifications would help address this stark gap.

“The sad reality is that there are cybercrime threats to every phone and computer in Australia. With the rapid transformation of cybercrime, there is a risk that businesses, smaller businesses in particular, will say it’s all too hard,” Mr Taylor said.

“This is an important part of the government’s plan to ensure a safe online environment for citizens and businesses and will help drive new jobs in a growing Australian industry.”

The qualifications are based on Box Hill Institute cybersecurity program and the implementation was coordinated by government-funded body AustCyber.

“We’ve been able to take the Box Hill program and help facilitate that through the entire ecosystem. We’ve been able to take a good program and good curriculum nationwide,” AustCyber chief executive Craig Davies told InnovationAus.com.

"That’s really key to solving this education issue we have and getting people into the industry."

The Certificate IV in Cyber Security and Advanced Diploma of Cyber Security are based on practical skills that students can learn on-the-job.

The design of the programs is aimed to ensure that cybersecurity experts and mentors can contribute to practical training and course content to ensure it is based on real-world scenarios.

The Certificate and Diploma will be offered at Box Hill Institute in Victoria, the Canberra Institute of Technology in the ACT, TAFE NSW, TAFE QLD, TAFE WA and TAFE SA from the start of this year, and will be implemented at TasTAFE and Charles Darwin University later in 2018.

The curriculum was developed with input from large industry partners including NAB, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, NBN Co and Telstra, and Mr Davies said this collaboration will be crucial in addressing the cybersecurity skills gap.

“From the very beginning we’ve been talking about the importance of creating real collaboration across the country to address this issue. This is what happens when you really work together – this shows what’s possible,” he said.

“To actually get it aligned nationally means that for employers the value proposition around consistent curriculum will maximise the return and encourage even further collaboration. And because of that national branding it’ll help to attract more talent.”

The qualifications were also created to ensure they could be flexibly completed by full-time students and those working full-time in different industries, he said.

“It’s not only for people starting out in careers, but it’s for people looking to cross-skill or move from another industry into this space. Think about some of the industries in Australia going through such rapid transitions,” Mr Davies said.

“This is a great opportunity for people. We want to attract a lot more diverse thinking into it rather than it being the realm just for technical people. We need a lot more new ideas in the room,” he said.

It’s set to be a big year for AustCyber, with the organisation to unveil the first cybersecurity landing pad cohort in San Francisco next week, and a set of state programs and events later in the year.

The organisation is also looking to work with universities to further develop cybersecurity education in Australia, Mr Davies said.

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