3 December 2022

Wagga TAFE steps up to train next generation of cybercrime super sleuths

| Katrina Condie
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George Holt at computer

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga head teacher of IT George Holt says the cyber security sector is going through an unprecedented jobs boom. Photo: TAFE NSW.

Riverina computer nerds will have an opportunity to use their skills to fight internet crime as TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga steps up efforts to train the next generation of cyber security professionals to help protect locals from the growing online threat.

Amid surging online crime and an increased demand for trained graduates in the field, the campus will offer a range of information technology courses in semester one, 2023.

It comes after an alarming spate of cyber security attacks in recent months – including data breaches at Optus and Medibank – prompting Federal Minister for Cyber Security Clare O’Neil to recently declare: “We are going to be under relentless cyber-attack, essentially from hereon in.”

Cyber crime cost Australia $30 billion last year and the high-profile data breaches have highlighted how real that threat is.

Data from the National Skills Commission has projected another 30,000 cyber professionals are needed nationwide by 2024.

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TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga head teacher of information technology George Holt said the changing risk landscape had prompted TAFE NSW to ensure cyber security units were now embedded in all information technology courses.

“The cyber security threat is continuous, large scale and widespread,” Mr Holt said.

“That’s why TAFE NSW, as Australia’s largest vocational education and training provider, is focused on giving cyber security graduates the practical skills and experience to make an immediate impact on the workplace.

“Demand for our graduates has never been higher and it’s a great time to enter the industry.”

TAFE NSW’s strong focus on cyber security has won the support of the nation’s largest professional ICT body, with Australian Computer Society NSW chair, Helen McHugh, saying training providers were a critical part of the puzzle.

“As the chair of ACS NSW, a veteran of the industry and a devotee of lifelong learning, as well as having been a TAFE student, I can highly commend this initiative,” Ms McHugh said.

“Vocational training is one of the tools in our ICT ecosystem development tool kit. TAFE NSW has a strong history of delivering excellent vocational training in many areas and so now offering cyber security training in their IT programs helps the NSW and Australian economy with ready-to-go cyber security technicians.”

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TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga Certificate IV in Cyber Security student Archie Dengate is on his third IT qualification at TAFE NSW and said he was eyeing a career in the booming cyber security field.

“It’s such an exciting field to be in with everything going on,” Mr Dengate said.

“The TAFE NSW courses have been very hands-on and you get to play around with some cool equipment.

“The teachers have been amazing and that face-to-face learning environment is so beneficial.”

Minister O’Neil says governments around the world are stepping up the fight against cybercrime and the Australian Government is joining them.

“The criminals we are up against have adapted their ways and so are we,” she said.

“The smartest and toughest people in our country are going to hack the hackers.”

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga is the largest campus in the Riverina area offering courses up to advanced diploma level.

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