A perfect partnership delivers job-ready cyber graduates

Across Australia, around 18,000 graduates are currently required annually, to fill vacancies in cyber security. Within this rapidly growing industry, the need for job-ready graduates has never been higher, with demand outstripping the number of graduates each year.

Across Australia, around 18,000 graduates are currently required annually, to fill vacancies in cyber security. Within this rapidly growing industry, the need for job-ready graduates has never been higher, with demand outstripping the number of graduates each year.

RIOT, now part of Orro (referred to hereon as Orro) is one of many businesses hungry for new, qualified team members to join their team.

Having already developed a strong working relationship with TAFE Queensland through the roll-out of their network upgrade and managed services program, Orro saw an opportunity to create a win-win. As a leader in the cyber security industry, Orro was uniquely positioned to help TAFE enhance the curriculum with real-world knowledge and up-to-date cyber security best practices, and ensure that graduates were skilled, job-ready and available to fill vacancies quickly.

Now 18 months later, graduates from TAFE Queensland’s new and improved Cyber Security Certification are already being employed by Orro to fill this critical gap in the market.

Challenges

With a university degree taking years to complete, Orro and other businesses in the cyber security space simply couldn’t wait for more graduates to become available. They identified TAFE’s one-year Certificate IV in Cyber Security Certification as an opportunity to increase the speed to market of new graduates to help fill the increasing demand.

The challenge was to bring that real-world knowledge and advanced cyber security expertise to the curriculum and deliver training to students in a highly practical way. This also meant ensuring that the lecturers had ongoing up-to-date training and information on cyber security trends, threats and solutions so that they could continue to deliver quality course material.

Process

Orro and TAFE Queensland approached this program from several angles to ensure success. The curriculum was bolstered with Cyberbit, a hyper-realistic cyber range and cyber lab for higher education leaders to produce cyber security graduates equipped with the skills that their future employers need.

In addition to helping refine the curriculum to ensure the most up-to-date content was delivered each year, Orro built four new Security Operations Centres (SOC) across Queensland. Located in Brisbane, Mooloolaba, Coomera and Cairns, these state-of-the-art facilities are the perfect training ground for students to learn cyber security in a real-world environment.

Together, Orro and TAFE Queensland also rolled out a train-the-trainer program to help lecturers stay up-to-date with cyber security trends and best-practice. Called ‘Secrets of the SOC’, this monthly series delivered by Orro is another vital piece of the puzzle that ensures the course remains highly relevant, and graduates are well prepared for a career in cyber security.

“With Orro’s help, we are ensuring that today’s students graduate with the job-ready skills to protect Australia’s critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks”

Jackie French, TAFE Queensland Faculty Director for Creative and Digital

Later this year, Orro is adding another element to the course with a cyber war games environment. Based at the South Bank Campus in Brisbane, the 5-metre square Lego city makes up part of TAFE Queensland’s SOC and is fully equipped with a ‘live fire’ cyber environment where students need to both attack and defend, in order to learn both sides of cyber security.

Designed by TLR Communications, the LEGO city is made with over 25,000 LEGO bricks, is fully powered and split into four main grids with transport and emergency services, businesses and other critical infrastructure – all vulnerable to attack during a simulation.

The $2.95 million SOC has been built in partnership with the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training and also includes a robotics lab.

Outcome

Working with TAFE Queensland, Orro was able to align industry needs with the existing curriculum to produce job-ready graduates from the Certificate IV Cyber Security Certificate.

This was an investment over time for both organisations, and the program continues to evolve each year. As a mutually beneficial relationship, the program helps attract more students to TAFE’s cyber security course and is producing job-ready graduates with up-to-date cyber security skills to fill job vacancies.

Orro has already employed a number of graduates into their graduate program, several of whom have now become full-time systems engineers.

Given the success to date, Orro is now working with TAFE to offer a series of hardship scholarships to support students from minority groups and those facing financial hardship to undertake a Certificate IV in Cyber Security. This is the first time scholarships like this have been offered to TAFE students rather than university students, representing a shift in the way the next generation of cyber security specialists receive their training and gain much-needed real-world expertise.

TAFE Queensland Faculty Director for Creative and Digital Jackie French, said that Australia needs more skilled cyber security workers to protect businesses in an increasingly digitised economy.

Partnering with Orro gives students a deep understanding of the realities of cyber warfare and the up-to-the-minute skills required in an ever-changing digital landscape in just 12 months.

“As the state’s largest and most experienced training provider, TAFE Queensland is committed to providing students with the quality, hands-on training they need to succeed in their chosen career while fulfilling the skills demands of the community,” she said.

“Businesses of today have an increased online presence, and while this is positive in enabling staff to work from anywhere and expanding their accessibility for customers, cybercriminals can and will exploit and capitalise on any weaknesses they can find.”

“This has made cyber security specialists a crucial investment for larger businesses and organisations in recent years, and they are only going to become more vital as technology develops and cybercriminals get increasingly sophisticated.”

“By partnering with RIOT (now known as Orro), we’re able to upskill our students faster, so they join the job market sooner to help businesses improve their security and prevent cyber-attacks.”

“With Orro’s help, we are ensuring that today’s students graduate with the job-ready skills to protect Australia’s critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks,” said Ms French.

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