Security industry veterans want to fix cybersecurity skills shortage
A group of three renowned Australian IT security veterans, made up of Mark Winter, CEO at inTechnology Distribution, Jason Burn, COO at Cloud Distribution and Adam P Henry, Adjunct Lecturer at UNSW Canberra Cyber, have joined forces to attack the growing cybersecurity skills shortage crisis in Australia.
According to a recent Gartner survey, only 65% of organisations have a cybersecurity expert, despite the fact that 95% expect cyber threats to increase over the next three years. “Cybersecurity is faced with a well-documented skills shortage, which is considered a top inhibitor to innovation. Finding talented, driven people to handle the organisation’s cybersecurity responsibilities is an endless function,” according to Rob McMillan, Research Director at Gartner.
In addressing this major issue, the trio have formed the local chapter of the global Cybersecurity Workforce Alliance, called the Cybersecurity Workforce Alliance Australia (CWA-AU).
The CWA-AU is a partnership program between the cybersecurity community, industry, government and educational institutions across Australia. The aim is to bridge the skills gap between the educational institution and the workplace. These programs are innovative and scalable, and specifically address the skills shortage crisis.
The program introduces students (regardless of their major discipline), to real-world cyber challenges facing organisations today while working closely with cybersecurity industry mentors. These extracurricular programs, known as virtual internships, ensure that graduate students are cyber aware and workforce ready, delivering immediate value to any employer.
This is accomplished by providing real-time knowledge transfer from industry expert mentors directly to students in a manner where performance, progression and potential can be measured, fostered and scaled.
The initiative has also been welcomed by Glen Gooding, Cyber Security Risk Management Partner at EY, who said, “The program is a new way of developing soft skills for students, as well as cyber awareness and work readiness.
“Cyber skill sets ultimately make the students more attractive to employers. It’s all about getting these students job ready. We’re pleased to be able help with mentoring support as we need the next generation of cyber experts coming through the pipeline.
“This is also an opportunity to give back and to foster leadership skills in students. There is also the chance to gain continuing professional education (CPE) credits for the mentor,” Gooding concluded.
In addressing this issue head on, the CWA-AU has partnered with Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) to deliver the first Australian pilot project.
Dr Abu Barkat, current CIT Head of the Centre for Cyber Security and Games, said: “CIT partners with industry across all programs in this new growth sector. We work closely with cybersecurity professionals to develop work-ready graduates. CIT’s interest is to build graduates with industry first skills.”
CIT recognise that cybersecurity is fast moving and working hand in hand with the cybersecurity industry will help CIT grow this sector.
“This program complements other initiatives being undertaken in the cyber education sector such as the TAFE National Curriculum for Cyber Security and current university-based initiatives; the program is free for the students and relies on industry/government sponsorship for the ongoing costs of the program,” said Henry.
This program is an Australian first, and establishes Canberra as a leader in addressing the cyber skills crisis and developing the next generation for the digital economy. The program is expanding through a partnership with Deakin University later this year and nationally into other TAFEs and universities in the near future.
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