CommBank and UNSW invest in cyber security education

Announce a $1.6m, five-year partnership to develop a centre of expertise aimed at boosting the nation’s reserve of quality security engineering professionals

CommBank’s Ben Heyes and UNSW’s Richard Buckland

CommBank’s Ben Heyes and UNSW’s Richard Buckland

The Commonwealth Bank and the University of New South Wales have announced a $1.6m, five-year partnership to develop a centre of expertise for cyber security education aimed at boosting the nation’s reserve of quality security engineering professionals.

The Security Engineering Partnership (or ‘sec edu’ for short) will help build industry capacity to battle the rising menace of cyber intrusions, identify theft, malware attacks and a host of other online perils, and alleviate a critical shortage of cyber security skills available to Australian businesses.

In the last 12 months, the number of cyber security roles advertised in Australia has grown by more than 60 per cent, according to research released by online employment marketplace SEEK. The research also showed that within the technology industry, cyber security roles are both the most difficult for employers to fill and some of the highest paid.

“In today’s interconnected digital world, we’re only as strong as our weakest link. Commonwealth Bank recognises a shared responsibility to secure Australia’s digital economy, and we’re excited to help educate the next generation of cyber security experts,” said Ben Heyes, CommBank chief information security and trust officer.

“This investment will build on UNSW’s enviable record of producing some of the world’s best computer scientists by providing a complete cyber security curriculum that prepares students for the roles most in demand in the tech sector,” he said.

Under the partnership, UNSW and Commonwealth Bank will build a cyber security centre of expertise (sec edu), which includes:

  • A comprehensive applied cyber security undergraduate curriculum, with the new curriculum to be published openly for sharing under creative commons licensing and made publicly available on the internet as massive open online courses (MOOCs).
  • A new Security Engineering Lab for hands-on teaching of security courses.
  • Recruitment of world-class lecturers.
  • Support for new PhD researchers tackling internet security issues and for the tutoring of undergraduates.

“We’ve seen a 60 per cent increase in security jobs advertised in the past year, and companies constantly struggle to hire people with up-to-date security skills,” said Richard Buckland, UNSW associate professor in computer security and cybercrime.

“This partnership will help drive the pipeline of professionals needed to support Australia’s growing digital economy. It will also build Australia's capability for teaching security engineering and establish and share an up-to-date curriculum. This is about raising the bar for cyber security education across the nation.”

Anyone interested in learning cyber security can join the online courses at: https://www.openlearning.com/courses/sec

CommBank also noted its support for the government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda announced yesterday and welcomed the initiative to launch an industry-led Cyber Security Growth Centre to strengthen Australia’s cyber security industry.

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