Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: Te Pukenga
In the world’s current pandemic state cyber-threats and scams have increased ten-fold and with that, businesses and nations have had to adapt and fast. The future of New Zealand’s cyber-security seems bright, due to a new and unique Diploma in Cyber Security – offered for the first time in 2021 by Ara Institute of Canterbury.
The Diploma is breaking new ground as one of New Zealand’s first cyber-qualifications at the pre-degree level, and the first course of its kind offered in the South Island.
50 Ara students successfully took part in the course, developed in collaboration with Datacom and CCL (Computer Concepts Ltd) – two computer industry partners who are dedicated to helping fill a global labour gap of cyber security professionals.
With COVID-19 there has been a shift in the day-to-day work of many different industries. Many more people are working from home and conducting their work primarily online. As a result, the use of digital tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and online cloud-based servers has increased, which ultimately has increased the risk of harmful cyberattacks, especially within large organisations.
A cyberattack is categorised as an attempt to disable or control computer infrastructures to steal data, breach systems, and overall cause complete chaos concerning a business’s reputation and intellectual property.
Throughout this new cyber security diploma, students gained new knowledge needed for addressing potential weaknesses and assessing various vulnerabilities that could arise when working with different tech systems.
They will cover topics such as infrastructure, methodology specifics, tools, cryptography, technical cybersecurity management, governance, and standards.
Nicoleta Croitoru, Head of Cybersecurity Services South Island, from Datacom, says, “We are interested in seeing motivated young people wanting to make the world a better place by solving cyber security problems. It was an absolute pleasure to help the students find mentors in our organisation.”
Nigel Young, Head of Department for Business and Digital Technologies at the time, stated that he thought part of the reason the course has done so well is due to the incredible internships students got to take part in.
“Our intent for the future is to maintain relatively small numbers so that we can provide quality industry placements. And I think that’s why the partnership has been successful in making that happen.”
The two partners for the internships were Datacom, New Zealand’s largest cybersecurity provider, and CCL, whose technology services are used by some of the country’s biggest organisations.
These internships had an apprenticeship approach, involving extensive practical experience of what it’s like to work as an ICT professional. Many of the students were offered to extend their placements and continue with the business once they had graduated.
Despite the many challenges they faced in 2021, Ara’s first cohort of cyber-security professionals have now graduated and are heading into professional roles in the sector.
Last year, Ara’s Business and Digital Technologies department held an end-of-year event to celebrate all the students and invited along with industry partners, many of whom supported the course through the internship component.
“It’s been a hard year for those who had to work from home, had to balance families, full-time learning, making money and not being able to access devices when the campus was closed during lockdown. So well done to the students for completing this course,” says Young.
Intakes for the February and July programmes are still open for all to apply.