“We as a country need you” was the message delivered by Hon Kris Faafoi, Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Government Digital Services, to an audience of students, staff and industry partners gathered at Unitec Institute of Technology today for the launch of Unitec’s Level 6 Diploma in Cybersecurity; the country’s first tertiary institution to have developed a cyber-qualification in the pre-degree space.
The Minister said the Cybersecurity profession offers a diverse and interesting career for young New Zealanders.
“This type of qualification we are here to launch today is a win-win – we get Kiwis into a rich and rewarding career and develop a strong and capable Cybersecurity workforce in New Zealand,” Minister Faafoi said. Representatives from Datacom, Spark and Computer Concepts Ltd (CCL); the industry partners involved with the course, were also present at the event. Between them, they are hosting 26 students in their security operations centres for practical, on-the-job training.
Minister Faafoi said the launch was something to be truly celebrated as an important step towards investing in the future of New Zealand’s Cybersecurity workforce and capabilities.
“Everyday New Zealanders doing everyday things will benefit,” said the Minister.
“With the increasing digitization of the economy, we need to keep pace and manage risks by growing the New Zealand Cybersecurity industry. Discussions on what the future of work will look like often describe the need to ensure we provide training for the jobs of tomorrow’s workforce. However, for the Cybersecurity workforce we need the relevant skills and training now,” he added.
Dila Beisembeyeva, Academic Programme Manager in Unitec’s School of Computing and Information Technology worked closely with NZQA, ITP New Zealand and industry partners to develop the qualification.
“I want to commend all those who have been involved in the development of this course and in particular David Eaton, of Datacom and Dila Beisembayeva, from Unitec for being the driving force behind getting this programme up and running,” said Minister Faafoi. “This cybersecurity qualification is a great example of the way vocational education in New Zealand is heading. It’s responding to a very real need. It’s based on collaboration between training providers and industry. And it enables students to train on the job as they study.”
“In an industry stymied by an increasing skills shortage, we’re helping develop our own home-grown talent and ensuring we deliver what industry needs,” said Ms Beisembayeva. “We’re bridging the gap between education and industry, while at the same time providing employment opportunities for students and equipping them with skills for jobs.”
Unitec’s Cybersecurity Diploma can be completed in one year (full-time) or over 18 months to four years (part-time). Students on the first cohort were also at today’s launch, with Alexis, an HR technology consultant, saying, “I’ve signed up to the course because of its purpose-built nature and the involvement of well-known industry partners.”
Jan, a market research analyst, added, “I’ve always been a computer enthusiast and having worked in the market research industry, have realised how vulnerable our systems are. I think the course will give me hands-on, practical experience.”