Australian TAFEs will offer cybersecurity diplomas amid skills shortage

**FILE** A Monday, Sept. 17, 2012 file photo of The Sydney Institute of TAFE campus in Sydney. (AAP Image/April Fonti) NO ARCHIVING Source: AAP

TAFEs around the country are taking enrolments for new Certificate IV and diploma courses in cybersecurity for 2018 as the industry cries out for more graduates.

TAFEs around the country will offer vocational training in cybersecurity for the first time this year as the Turnbull government pushes to close a job shortage estimated at 11,000 places.

While Australian universities already offer degrees in cybersecurity, the government claims the addition of TAFE courses will help cultivate workers with skills at a "range of different levels".

"We absolutely need more young Australians who are excited about technology getting into this sector," cybersecurity minister Angus Taylor told reporters at a Parliament House launch event.

Mr Taylor said the domestic cybersecurity industry was already worth $2 billion, but the government expected it to triple in size over the coming decade.

"There are few career opportunities that are better than this one," he said.

The national rollout comes following a successful one-year pilot at Melbourne's Box Hill Institute where the first batch of students have recently graduated with a Cert IV.

The list of TAFEs offering the course has been published online. 

Banks, telecommunication companies and governments are all scrambling to attract cybersecurity graduates as the frequency and intensity of cyber attacks increase, but are often forced to fight over a small talent pool.

"They steal each other's resources. They develop their own programs or they find someone who's well-skilled and then go and poach them," Stewart Humphreys-Grey, who helped design the Box Hill course, told SBS News.

Mr Humphreys-Grey said the course was not overly technical.

One of the first students to finish the Cert IV, Mathew Russell said he did struggle a "little bit" with learning code.

The 34-year old has a background in customer service and sales, but now wants to move into technology and the "fascinating" field of cyberwarfare.

Most graduates would likely find work testing security systems, investigating weaknesses and designing new policies, according to AustCyber - a government-backed group that liaises with industry.

The demand for cyber skills is growing across the economy, including in local government.

Ian Hatten runs digital projects for the Gold Coast council, which plans to accept two interns from the TAFE courses this year.

"We're a $1.4-billion organisation and a lot of our transactions are moving online, so unless we get serious about cybersecurity we're putting taxpayers' money at risk," Mr Hatten said.

The council had already been subject to "several" cyber attacks believed to have originated overseas.

While Mr Hatten said the council had "generally" been able to repel the attacks, it was looking to hire more graduates.

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