Vocational cyber training is key
Ken Boal: Has cut the ribbon on a new cyber training facility in Melbourne's western suburbs
Global networking and security giant Cisco has partnered with Victoria University’s Polytechnic to open a multi-million dollar cybersecurity training centre in the heart of Melbourne’s western suburbs and with a heavy focus on vocational training.
The jointly-funded Cybersecurity Training Centre is located at VU’s St Albans Campus as an industry-education partnership designed from the ground up to maintains a deliver a vocational-focused curriculum and job-ready graduates.
The course curriculum has been co-designed by cybersecurity professionals – including Cisco’s Networking Academy –to deliver hands-on and practical insights and modules that are relevant to industry today.
The new Cybersecurity Training Centre would be used by large numbers of Victoria University students from a variety of courses, including the free TAFE course, the Certificate IV in Cybersecurity.
The new St Albans centre includes a Cyber Security Operations Centre (SOC) with a simulated working environment with fully-equipped rooms for Red teams and Blue teams so students can take on real-time roles as attackers/defenders to acquire genuine workplace skills in this sector. It also two immersive computer labs, and a videoconferencing classroom, connecting students and industry virtually.
Cisco Australia and New Zealand vice-president Ken Boal told InnovationAus.com that the partners wanted to do something that “truly makes an impact in [Melbourne’s] West,” and would also supports Australia’s digital transformation, create jobs and help improve Australia’s economic productivity.
A big part of this support related to maintaining a flexible, up-to-date and industry-focused cyber curriculum, Mr Boal said.
“From a skills perspective, the key priority is to define the national cyber security curriculum ‘engine’,” he said, “including a program that maps skills, and is accountable for hiring, education and training.”
One of Cisco’s key recommendations in the Australian Cybersecurity Strategy Review, was that cyber education wasn’t limited to the tertiary level, it needs to broaden to the TAFE/ VET sector.
“Education and training that extends beyond traditional computer and IT higher-education courses, to non-traditional streams such as law and business. We should also develop a new stream of skilled personnel through TAFEs,” Mr Boal said.
Cisco contributed to the syllabus with Box Hill TAFE and participated in the industry advisory group, which aims to be job ready by design.
“We are seeing the emergence of a clear role in the market for TAFE, with the increasing need for digital economy jobs – which is where TAFE is best placed,” Mr Boal said.
“Specifically for the Centre at Victoria University Polytechnic, beyond the supply of hardware and software for the physical facility, Cisco has shared its local and global expertise in providing industry specialists/speakers and a mentoring program, connected with programs and projects linked to the Cybersecurity Training Centre at VU.”
The VU Polytechnic's Certificate IV in Cyber Security is supported by the Cisco’s Networking Academy.
Victoria University deputy vice-chancellor Grant Dreher said the new centre would support career opportunities for both school graduates as well as for people seeking career changes in the Melbourne’s West as the region progressively moves from a manufacturing base into a sophisticated knowledge economy.
“The rapid evolution of cybercrimes around the world shows that cybersecurity is not just an Australian problem, it’s a global problem for companies to tackle, using a high quality workforce with the right skills and training,” Mr Dreher said.
Cisco’s Mr Boal said there had been a big shift nationwide in the past two years in provisioning of cybersecurity courses across the country, and a recognition that this has to be done in collaboration with industry, to develop industry driven and relevant curriculum.
Up until two years ago, Cybersecurity education had been led by the private sector, with just a handful of public institutions offering cyber course. The demand for industry education was not scaling and building capacity takes some time
Up until two years ago, Cybersecurity education was led by the private sector with a very small handful of institutes that offered courses on Cybersecurity. The demand for industry education wasn’t scaling and it takes time to build capacity.
The good news is that most universities now offer cybersecurity units or courses. About half of Australian universities now offer cybersecurity as a specific degree, or as a major within an IT or computer science qualification.