Interview on Radio 4KZ Breakfast with Glenn Johns
New Learning Potential website; Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence

Glenn Johns: Now we cross live to the Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham. Good morning Simon, how are you? 

Simon Birmingham: Good morning. I’m very well. Great to be with you.

Glenn Johns: Yeah, this is a great initiative, the Learning Potential Resources, it’s going to help parents get in touch with what their kids do at school.

Simon Birmingham: Well that’s right. Look, parental engagement, parents really working with the first learners- teachers for their children is so, so important. It’s one of the most influential factors of how kids do at school. And so we’re working as a government to provide more resources that makes it easier for mums and dads, grandparents and other carers to have a look at how they can help support parents, help support their children, help support the teachers in achieving of course more for their children.

Glenn Johns: Yeah, and I guess also it goes across the fact that we’re using more technology in schools and it’s going to be very important moving forward as generations come up and they’re just going to be using more and more of it. So it keeps the generations in touch with what’s happening with the curriculum so that parents can feel like they know exactly what’s happening at school.

Simon Birmingham: It certainly helps in that regard. Of course it also helps with juggling technology at home. My two girls are aged four and six and they love nothing more than trying to grab hold of the iPad when they get the chance. But of course you want to try to channel that into good rather than bad. So there are a lot of different applications and resources that can be used online which this Learning Potential website and application provides parents with that children can use with that technology as well as lots of practical tips about how parents can integrate cooking, gardening, going for a drive with discussions about counting, literacy, all of those basic skills you want to start developing and strengthening at the youngest possible age.

Glenn Johns: Let’s move on to the fact that there’s a new program to build Australia’s frontline cybersecurity workforce, because we’re talking about things online and this in the future, something like 800 positions are going to be created. Can you elaborate a bit more about what the Turnbull Government’s doing on that?

Simon Birmingham: Well I can. Just as we’re moving on though I should make sure I emphasise that the Learning Potential website for those listening and interested is; learningpotential.edu.au. So I really encourage parents to take a look there and they can download the application from that website. 

But yes the new centres for Cyber Security Excellence are an important initiative again of the Turnbull Government. It’s a $1.9 million investment to select the best universities to teach cyber security studies around Australia. Because there are enormous increasing opportunities in that space. Around one in five cyber security jobs are estimated to be vacant by 2020. That equates to many hundreds of jobs across the country. In all different types of businesses you now need to spend more time and effort protecting their data, their information, their IT systems, and so we’re trying to really strengthen the capacity of our universities and to provide those graduates who can fill those jobs. 

Glenn Johns: Yes, something like $230 million going towards the Cyber Security Strategy. It is very important isn’t it?

Simon Birmingham: It’s a critical area because it can really threaten the viability of a business or a service, whether it’s the privacy of data [indistinct] or of course whether it’s about the actual product or service being offered in information if people need to protect as part of their business offering. So it’s increasingly important. It’s not just banks or big financial institutions, but all matter of businesses find they need to take cyber security quite seriously.

Glenn Johns: Thanks very much Simon for your time.

Simon Birmingham: Absolute  pleasure. Thank you.

Glenn Johns: There’s the Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham on the KZ network.