Australia officially has its first skills-based cyber security qualifications, with the launch of the Certificate IV and Advanced Diploma of Cyber Security.

The courses were launched in Canberra last Thursday by Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security, Angus Taylor, and Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Karen Andrews.

The launch comes following the December announcement from Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) and Box Hill Institute that they were to lead the development of a Cyber Security National Program.

“The sad reality is that there are cyber crime threats to every phone and computer in Australia. With the rapid transformation of cyber crime, there is a risk that businesses, smaller businesses in particular, will say it’s all too hard,” Taylor said.

“This is an important part of the Government’s plan to ensure a safe online environment for citizens and business and will help drive new jobs in a growing Australian industry.”

The courses are designed to be hands-on and can be completed by students on-the-job.

According to the TAFE NSW website, non-subsidised, the cost of the Certificate IV will be $8,795, running for 22 hours per week over 17 weeks.

The courses will be offered at Box Hill Institute, Canberra Institute of Technology, TAFE NSW, TAFE QLD, TAFE WA and TAFE SA.

When asked whether TAFEs had the teachers and resources available for the courses, Minister Taylor said they were “well equipped” and that interest in the courses had been strong.

The conception of the courses gives Australia additional formal cyber security qualifications, following the launch of ACS’ Certified Professional (Cyber Security) and Certified Technologist (Cyber Security) certifications in September 2017.

The announcement comes amidst a much-publicised skills shortage in the cyber security sector.

Craig Davies of AustCyber, Australia’s cyber security growth network, estimates that Australia will need at least 11,000 cyber security workers in the next ten years.

“There is a critical shortage of skilled cyber security workers in Australia, needed to help secure organisations against malicious cyber activity, so it is extremely encouraging to see Australian TAFEs join forces to do what TAFEs do best—provide practical, hands-on skills aligned with industry needs,” he said.

The required increase in workers is expected to bring with it market growth, with the Australian cyber security industry set to triple from $2 billion today to $6 billion by 2026.

The qualifications have been developed with the help of a number of prominent industry partners, including; National Australia Bank (NAB), Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ANZ Bank, nbnco, Cisco Australia and New Zealand, REA Group, BAE Systems, Telstra, Deloitte, CITT, the Australian Information Security Association and ISACA.

Chief Information Security Officer at NAT, Andrew Dell, believes the new qualifications will help protect many Australians.

“NAB is proud to work collaboratively with government and the education sector to build a strong pipeline of cyber security talent in the future,” he said.

“Job-ready graduates will help NAB to grow and nurture industry leading capability, keep our customers’ money and data safe and achieve our vision to build a global best practice cyber security capability.”