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Mahi Kotahitanga creates cybersecurity career opportunities

  • Cybersecurity students at powhiri
    The new intake of ākonga at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae

A unique journey exploring and understanding the intricacies of cybersecurity is underway for thirty new ākonga, who were recently welcomed into the whānau at Unitec-Te Pūkenga . 

1 May 2023

An innovative new cyber security qualification aims to encourage and support more Māori and Pacific learners pursue careers in the tech industry. 

The new programme is a collaboration between Te Pūkenga, Microsoft, TupuToa and Te Whatu Ora designed to help address the underrepresentation of Māori and Pacific in a rapidly growing industry. 

Vanessa Sorenson, Managing Director of Microsoft New Zealand said “We’re hugely excited to be partnering with Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, TupuToa and Te Whatu Ora on delivering something tangible and real that will benefit the whole country”.

This qualification expands on similar collaborative learning opportunities already underway with community partners including the Papa Te Whatitiri, Digi Tech programme at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi. 

Papa Te Whatitiri kaiako, Tahuri Tumoana says the programme teaches students how to turn social media, the internet and digital technology into tools to empower whānau and carve out career pathways. 

“Our students are taught how to understand what Information Technology is, it also helps them understand the impact of the internet and interconnectivity for Māori in particular. There are a lot of opportunities out there, there are a lot of threats as well and we need to make sure rangatahi are provided with opportunities to help them navigate this realm safely and effectively.” 

The new cybersecurity programme will connect ākonga directly with industry employment opportunities and the dedicated and tailored manākitanga provided by TupuToa. 

 Ākonga will learn both on-campus and in the workplace over six months and come out with the training they need to gain entry level roles in cybersecurity in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

The development of the programme was built on strong networks and connections already held by Dila Beisembayeva who has championed a series of extremely successful micro credentials. 

She told those gathered to celebrate the new intake of ākonga at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae that the collective dedication of everyone involved helped bring the programme to life. 

Te Whatu Ora Chief Information Security Officer Sonny Taite says the opportunity to support the growth of talent in the cyber security workforce, particularly amongst Māori and Pacific peoples, was one that couldn’t be missed.  

“We’re really proud to be partnering with Te Pūkenga, Microsoft and TupuToa to help bridge what we know is an existing workforce shortage in an area with a growing importance in both the health sector, and for wider New Zealand. Being able to increase representation and diversity in the sector is also something we feel very passionately about.”