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Joining forces to tackle the ongoing cyber security challenge

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

15 February 2023 

The skyrocketing demand for cyber security professionals* is being addressed with a unique pathway program linking TAFE and secondary school students with paid industry employment and advanced entry into university.  

Through the Cyber Security Industry Pathway Program (2 MB) (PDF document), students complete a ICT30120 Certificate III in Information Technology (Cyber Security) through the VET Delivered to Secondary Students (VETDSS) program. Once they finish school, students continue to study with NMTAFE, completing three qualifications over two and a half years whilst participating in paid workplace learning with a host employer. 

NMTAFE students are then eligible to receive recognition of prior learning for their studies, allowing them to save the first year and a half off ECU’s three-year Bachelor of Science (Cyber Security) degree.    

Furthermore, the first qualification in the pathway can be completed ‘course fee free’ under the WA Government’s ‘FREE IN ‘23’ initiative making this a very affordable pathway into university and the cyber security industry.   

The Cyber Security Industry Pathway Program was launched at NMTAFE yesterday with international keynote speaker Rob Lee**, CEO/Co-Founder of Dragos. The Securing your future: Cyber Careers chat with Rob Lee event promoted discussion with over 180 attendees on emerging cyber security issues in the Operational Technology space and the protection of the state’s critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks.  

The event brought industry leaders, and representatives from education and government together with over 100 secondary school, NMTAFE and tertiary students, encouraging the next generation to understand some of the key issues that society faces from cyber-attacks and the urgent need for them to work in this industry. 

As a member of the Joondalup Learning Precinct alongside NMTAFE and ECU, the City of Joondalup will participate in the program as an employer. 

City of Joondalup Mayor Albert Jacob said cyber security is a growing concern for the City of Joondalup’s business and resident community, and this skills program will equip high school students with cyber security skills that will fast track their progress to tertiary institutions. “As WA’s first innovation hub, Joondalup has proven itself as a leader in cyber security and boasts one in five Australian students in this field. Joondalup was built on knowledge and innovation and the City is proud to support initiatives such as this cyber security program to enhance our reputation as a place for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.” 

As the first TAFE in WA to open a Cyber Security Training Centre, NMTAFE is committed to rapidly upskilling Western Australians to achieve a diverse and productive cyber security workforce. NMTAFE Managing Director Michelle Hoad said “our industry pathway program with ECU is a game-changer for both students and industry. It will not only allow students to obtain skills to enter the workforce, but it will also produce employees with the critical combination of practical hardware training, hands-on skills and a deep understanding of networking, software applications and organisational security protection from cyber security threats,” she said. 

Industry cyber security leader, Glenn Murray, and moderator for the event is passionate about diversifying the cybersecurity workforce and increasing the number of unrepresented people fighting cybercrime. “Cyber criminals come from all walks of life, so we need a diverse workforce to be able to think like the attackers that threaten our everyday lives. We need to bridge the gap of diversity within the cyber security workforce, and we need to start now.” 


* (ICS)2 conducted a cybersecurity workforce study for 2022 and they estimated a global cybersecurity workforce shortage of 3.4million. They estimate a cybersecurity workforce gap in Australia of 39,500 in 2022. Read the report 

**  Rob Lee: Forbes named Rob to its 30 under 30 (2016) list as one of the “brightest entrepreneurs, breakout talents, and change agents” in enterprise technology. Rob is routinely sought after for advice and input on cybersecurity for industrial infrastructure and is regularly asked to brief national leaders. Rob is also a highly respected lecturer at the renowned SANS institute and is committed to train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.


Photo 1 - North Metropolitan TAFE Managing Director, Michelle Hoad with CEO/Co-Founder of Dragos, Rob Lee, and industry cyber security leader, Glenn Murray.

Photo 2 (L-R) - Lyn Farrell, Rob Lee, Michelle Hoad, Glenn Murray, Asha Oudit, with City of Joondalup and ECU representatives and industry leaders.