AustCyber is readying a nationwide standards for TAFE institutions in an effort to make Australia the “leading force” in cyber security education.
AustCyber chief executive Craig Davies said the government-backed organisation had been working closely with leading TAFE organisations around the country to develop a common standard for cyber security graduates, which is to be revealed next month.
Leading cyber security institutions including the Box Hill Institute of TAFE in Melbourne and the Canberra Institute of Technology have been closely involved in the development of this universal VET standard, which addresses both the style and level of skills the graduates are taught.
“It’s about making a natural program delivered across the country that is consistent, with industry input and with candidates that are ready to learn,” Mr Davies told the InnovationAus.com Cyber Leaders conference.
“We can no longer [say], ‘we need to do it this way in Victoria, another way in New South Wales and another way in Queensland’. We can no longer be like that,” he said.
“What we’re driving and what the TAFE sector in particular has taken on board, is how we align that standard so that if an employer picks up a graduate out of a VET program, they will know that they’ve had a consistent style of education.”
The Box Hill Institute of TAFE offers a Certificate IV in cyber security and will soon be offering a diploma. The course was designed with input from the finance sector, telco’s and IT service providers, and the organisation had played a driving role in helping develop the national standard.
Growing the cyber security pipeline and improving education is one of three core pillars that AustCyber has focused on for its four years’ of government funding. Mr Davies said Australia had the potential to lead the world on this issue.
AustCyber was formerly known as the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network.
“Education is the one area we have to get right and we have to start five years ago. We have to do it right now otherwise the opportunities will pass by and we will become a branch economy,” he said.
“We will be beholden to others telling us what we need to do as a country – that will not be sustainable.”
“It’s not about making Australia a leading centre, it’s about making Australia the leading centre.”
With a pre-existing strong education system and teachers in place, Australia already has a strong foundation to build this cyber security strength.
“It’s about making Australia the leading force for this. We actually have the prerequisites in place for this. We have to be genuine about growing our own native industry because of the strengths we have in delivering education already, we need to build on that.
“We know we have the researchers and educators in the space, and we can address the TAFE learning issue. We can bring people on board, we just have to think creatively about this,” Mr Davies said.
Along with the universal standard in TAFE cyber security education, AustCyber is also working with the WithMeWithYou program to bring former defence force personnel into the cyber security industry.
This focus on bringing in people with different skillsets into the industry to address the skills gap is a crucial facet of the organisation’s operations.
“We want to bring more skills in to think creatively about how you’re going to solve it, and that needs big involvement in education. We want to reach out to people across the country to coordinate a common approach to it,” Mr Davies said.
Assistant secretary of cyber policy in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Sandra Ragg said that the government was looking to implement initiatives to address this skills gap in cyber security, starting with education.
“What I’m seeing in government and industry is that there are so many fantastic initiatives out there in cyber security, but the issue is that we need to be able to integrate these across the entire ecosystem to get greater strength and power, and to really get to that scale and pace that we need to achieve,” Ms Ragg said.
“We’re going to try things, and some things will work and some won’t. We need to continue to learn and build evidence for what’s going to take us forward, and then be brave enough as a community to double down on the successful things and leave behind those that haven’t worked.
“That’s the only way we’re going to be able to scale,” she said.