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Microsoft and AustCyber tackle cybersecurity skills shortage

By Catherine Knowles
Mon 25 Jul 2022

Microsoft has partnered with AustCyber and other education and training providers to offer Australians a credible alternative pathway to enter the cybersecurity industry.

The Cyber Security Microsoft Traineeship Program (Cyber Security MTP) is designed to help aspiring cybersecurity professionals build a career in the sector, regardless of their age, background or experience. It will support around 200 participants over the next two years.

The program is partly funded by the Australian Government’s Cyber Security Skills Partnership Innovation Fund, which aims to improve the quality and availability of cybersecurity professionals across the country.

Combining formal training with paid, on-the-job experience, the two-year program enables participants to earn while they learn.

Trainees will spend four days a week working in the industry for a member of Microsoft and AustCyber’s partner network. They will also spend one day a week studying for a Certificate IV in Cyber Security through either TAFE NSW or the Canberra Institute of Technology, and gaining relevant Microsoft micro-credentials via Prodigy Learning.

Group training provider MEGT has committed to recruit, employ and support trainees for the duration of the program.

In addition, participants who already hold a Certificate III in Information Technology can apply for credit towards the Certificate IV in Cyber Security.

AustCyber estimates that Australia will need around 7,000 more cybersecurity professionals across all industries by 2024 to counter the growing threat of cyber crime.

The Cyber Security MTP has been created to equip graduates with the knowledge and practical skills they need to work in high-demand roles such as cybersecurity analyst or engineer.

Program participants will have the opportunity to gain a permanent job with their host employer after graduating, fast-tracking their entry into the cybersecurity industry.

As well as uncovering the next generation of cybersecurity talent, the Cyber Security MTP aims to increase the diversity and inclusivity of Australia’s cybersecurity workforce, with people of all genders, backgrounds and abilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Microsoft and AustCyber are offering a free virtual bootcamp that gives participants an overview of the skills and tools needed to recognise and manage cyberthreats to infrastructure, networks and machines. Cyber Security for Starters comprises one core unit from the Certificate IV in Cyber Security.

Michael Bromley, CEO at AustCyber, comments, “In 2022, a diverse workplace doesn’t just make sense - it’s good business practice. Including women, Indigenous people, neurodivergent people, veterans, and individuals from other minority groups, builds a workforce with a range of different perspectives and ultimately leads to greater innovation, higher levels of engagement and better decision-making.

“This program provides a new pathway to cybersecurity jobs and helps address Australia’s cyber skills shortfall.”

Tim Allen, skills for employability lead at Microsoft Australia and New Zealand, says, “We’re very excited to expand our MTP offering with AustCyber. The Cyber Security MTP and virtual bootcamp will help more people kickstart their cybersecurity career and provide organisations access to the talent they need.

“This alternative pathway model has been tried and tested with great success. Microsoft’s foundation IT traineeship has produced more than 300 graduates since 2020 who have gone on to thrive in tech roles.

“Microsoft is committed to growing the size, quality and diversity of Australia’s IT and cybersecurity workforce. We look forward to welcoming the program’s first cohort of trainees later this year.”

Adam McCarthy, CEO of ParaFlare - Microsoft’s active cyber defence partner - also commented on the announcement saying, “As cyber threats continue to increase, so does the demand on our cyber workforce. Cybersecurity professionals are on the frontline protecting businesses, governments and organisations from increasing threats.

“This commitment by Microsoft and AustCyber will help ParaFlare and the Microsoft Traineeship Program ecosystem build the cyber workforce Australia needs to protect our way of life.”

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