Collaboration and innovation lead to new cybersecurity training


Collaboration and innovation lead to new cybersecurity training

Paengawhāwhā 24, 2023 | 4 min read

The first thirty ākonga (learners) of an innovative new cybersecurity qualification have been welcomed with a pōwhiri onto Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae at Te Pūkenga Unitec in Mt Albert, Tamaki Mākarau (Auckland) today. 

The new programme is a collaboration between Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, Microsoft, TupuToa and Te Whatu Ora and is designed to both address the huge growth in demand for cyber security experts and the under-representation of Māori and Pacific people in the tech sector. 

The pōwhiri saw ākonga and their whānau, friends and communities welcomed into Te Pūkenga whare and marks the first step in them joining the tech sector. 

"Te Pūkenga was founded to help vocational learners gain the skills and training they need more successfully, while better meeting the needs of employers, our communities and the country," says Dr Megan Gibbons, Pourangi Mātauranga me ngā Pūnaha Ako | Deputy Chief Executive Academic Centre and Learning Systems. 

"This programme is a great example of just that, we’re partnering with industry to meet their needs and working with others to ensure ākonga receive the support they need to get the qualifications they want. 

"Te Pūkenga being a single national organisation is also a big advantage in being able to advance this collaboration with our partners to the point we have reached today. 

"While the programme is available to all, Māori and Pacific Island ākonga will be further supported in their training with wraparound pastoral care from TupuToa, including access to further TupuToa programmes such as Kōkiri Workshops (work readiness workshops) and opportunities to access financial literacy training." 

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. 

"We know that short training programmes are a key way to better meet employer and ākonga needs. They deliver big learning in bite-size chunks and quickly equip ākonga with the skills employers and industry need," says Megan. 

"The latest OECD report shows the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals in Aotearoa New Zealand went up 16.5 times over the last decade - more than in any other country in the report. We need to be reaching into as many communities as we can to ensure we meet that need and enable Aotearoa New Zealand to remain competitive and thrive as a digital nation. 

"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," said Vanessa Sorenson, Managing Director of Microsoft New Zealand. 

Te Whatu Ora National 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."