TAFEs band together to lead cyber security skills


July 2023

TAFEs band together to lead cyber security skills

In a first for Australian TAFEs, 11 institutes across Australia are working together as TAFEcyber. The consortium produces job ready cyber security professionals with hands-on skills.

As a major supplier of graduates to the cyber security workforce, TAFEcyber are known as being fast and agile, using real situations in a practical, skill-based learning approach.

By partnering with industry from its inception in 2018, TAFEcyber are delivering up to 3000 graduates with the Diploma of Cyber Security or Advanced Diploma of Cyber Security per year.

The consortium is led by staff at South Metropolitan TAFE in Western Australia and was initially supported by various government seed funding initiatives.

Meeting industry needs

“We’ve got immediacy via our direct connection to industry, who direct what we teach. Graduates have up-to-date technical skills, to be developed further in the workplace, and the nous of working in a team, working in incident response etc. Our students are often employed by the business where they’ve done their work placement.

Many universities are doing cyberspace research. But businesses, including small to medium sized ones, want our graduates, not a research-based cyber security expert.

Working with a wide range of companies, we’ve gained critical mass. We rarely need to approach industry now, they come to us wanting to be a learning partner….and get the pick of the graduates!”

Julia Burns, Executive Director, Construction, Hospitality & Commerce, South Metropolitan TAFE

Benefits for industry

Jeremy Watkinson previously worked for one of TAFEcyber’s first industry partners, Ionize, a small to medium sized business in Canberra.

“I’ve reconnected with TAFEcyber recently on a new project through KPMG. I first worked with TAFEcyber through my role with Ionize, and now I’ve noticed that it’s really picked up pace since its early days.

They present themselves as a single voice and have become a key part of the ecosystem becoming another national voice for the cyber security industry. So, it’s more than just teaching courses.

They produce graduates faster and are very responsive to industry. In this growing and in-demand workforce, there’s a strong focus on attracting and nurturing new talent.

I have seen how the consortia approach benefits industry because there’s one organization to connect with and speak to through a single voice. They can be more consistent, there’s a uniformity of products across the country; greater consistency, quality and currency around what’s being taught.

TAFEcyber is a really strong identity to engage with.”

Jeremy Watkinson, Associate Director, Cyber Security, KPMG

TAFEs Collaborating Successfully

From the beginning, the consortia of TAFEs concentrated on the quality of their products, it’s relevance to industry and ensuring strong industry involvement.  

“There are economies of scale in sharing tasks and responsibilities, including meeting regulatory requirements. The teaching and learning materials and quality documents we’ve developed jointly are in a repository for all TAFEcyber members to access.

Four senior TAFEcyber member’s staff formed a management group, getting to know each other well, keeping regular contact and supporting each other to build trust. Staff change over time, just as in our industry partners, so you have to keep reinventing relationships within TAFEcyber, as well as keep making the right industry networks.

We aren’t as risk adverse and have permission to be more creative. I’ve always wondered why we don’t do more collaborating between TAFEs.

Some universities are interested in creating their version of TAFEcyber. Their reaction to our work has been amazingly positive. We’ve been asked to share our experiences.”

Julia Burns, Executive Director, Construction, Hospitality & Commerce, South Metropolitan TAFE

“I just don’t think there’s anyone that can work at scale like TAFEcyber. They’re all big organizations with a lot of resources. They collaborate well and have great leadership from their management team.

What other entity has the national reach, is well respected, quality regulated, trusted, and with appropriate infrastructure and skilled staff? There really is no other choice.”

Jeremy Watkinson, Associate Director, Cyber Security, KPMG

TAFEcyber members are –

  • TAFE Queensland
  • Canberra Institute of Technology
  • Melbourne Polytechnic
  • Box Hill Institute
  • Victoria University Polytechnic
  • North Metropolitan TAFE
  • South Metropolitan TAFE
  • GoTAFE
  • TasTAFE

For more information see https://www.tafecyber.com.au/