New $1.1m cyber security training deal to help meet workforce shortages

Ian Bushnell 15 August 2018 2

Fifth Domain founder and director Matthew Wilcox. Photo: Supplied.

A new $1.1 million cyber security training program in the ACT is giving students hands-on experience and helping to bridge the skills gap in a sector that continues to grow and affect just about every facet of modern life.

The consortium of Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), the Australian National University and local cyber security training organisation Fifth Domain won $547,000 under AustCyber’s Project Fund to help establish a virtual classroom that includes a cloud-based security operations centre (SOC), allowing students to work through real scenarios to gain nationally accredited qualifications.

The simulated environment will be complemented by a training facility at CIT Reid, which will have capacity for a 40-student classroom to give students real-world skills development.

Fifth Domain founder and director Matthew Wilcox said the idea for the training SOC environment came from CIT Director of Business Development Jayne Miller who saw similar models in Singapore and wanted to bring it to Canberra but needed support to do it.

He said the cloud-based platform would allow CIT to not only train people in the classroom but also remotely, so the program would be able to teach more people, “which is great for skills development for cyber security”.

It had the potential to be a platform that TAFEs around Australia could hook into and share content.

The SOC environment meant students tackled real workplace problems and not only learned technical skills but also team work, and communication and planning skills needed in the workplace.

Canberra was the perfect place to establish such a program with it being the centre of government and such a higher education focused city.

“Both ANU and CIT have strong ambitions to develop their cyber security standing in their respective fields,” he said.

CEO of Canberra-based cyber security company Penten and Co-Chair of AustCyber’s Canberra Node Advisory Board, Matthew Wilson, said the shortage of a skilled workforce was hindering the growth of the Australian cyber security industry, with an estimated 20,000 job shortages in the next 10 years.

“This project is a great example of how strong collaboration and understanding can implement a smart solution to the ever-changing demands of a fast-paced growth sector,” Mr Wilson said.

“The system will have the ability to act as a test bed for companies wanting to trial technologies on a workforce (the student cohort) in a standalone safe environment.”

This project will help to future proof government and business through the upskilling of employees in entry-level cyber security training.

Mr Wilson said CIT, with Box Hill TAFE in Victoria, had pioneered the development of a Certificate 4 course in cyber security.

“I can’t even think of another industry or circumstance where this has taken place, where we now have a national curriculum for the delivery of Cert 4 courses,” he said.

CIT has been delivering Certificate IV in Cyber Security since March 2018 and already has over 130 students enrolled.

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2 Responses to New $1.1m cyber security training deal to help meet workforce shortages
skeevestevens skeevestevens 12:59 pm 18 Aug 18

I’d like to understand how the training differs from other Cyber Security training programmes, which are (for the most part) in my opinion, are woeful and do little to provide trainees with any decent and useful skills, or employers the confidence that those skills will protect their assets.

This article comments on the shortage of skilled people – I would suggest there is a shortage of quality, practical and domain training that is the issue… we already have a heap of graduates who (again, for the most part), seem to be relatively useless against most of the emerging threat vectors or in protecting the domains that need it.

This initiative seems to be focusing on ‘more’ people as opposed to better, or usefully trained people, which is paralleled by what happened in the network engineering world where there is a lot of certification (Cisco, Juniper, etc) with very few decent engineers, due to the overall structure of the training.

I’d like the be enlightened of this trainings curriculum and methodology to see if it is anything different to what is already out there.

    Peter Holland Peter Holland 8:10 am 19 Sep 18

    There are many courses running in Canberra that cover Cybersecurity, as it is a current buzz-word that seems to equate to making money. Of bigger concern is the lack of understanding, people who think that hackers target large companies, a “i’m too small, they won’t be interested in me” mentality.

    Some of the best courses aren’t available to the public, and are instead ensconced in other aspects of training in specialised areas of education – ADFA, RMC Duntroon, the AFP training facilities all have components of cyber as a part of their courseware, but the focus is the enablement of tools to prevent attacks, not generalised cyber frameworks.

    vSOC (Virtual Security Operations Centres – cloud based) are in operation everywhere. The real world application of these centres is down to the skillset of the trainer, not the student.

    I agree regarding the Network engineer Certification approach, it was driven by the manufacturers to gain resellers who had completed the certification programs, if you didn’t, you couldn’t sell their products. Many people studied and sat exams for courses that they would never require in their roles, only to enable access to products.

    With respect to Cyber, “real world examples” are usually events that have occurred. They don’t enable heuristic analysis of new threats and are limiting in their ability to identify new approaches to seize data, damage reputations and impact a business or individual.

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