The Turnbull Government is set to name the best Australian universities to train up the country’s next generation of cyber security specialists to help address statistics that show Australian companies predict nearly one in five cyber security jobs will go unfilled by 2020. 

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Cyber Security Dan Tehan today announced that universities can apply to be recognised as Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence (ACCSE) for their work delivering specialised training to address Australia’s critical need for cyber security professionals.

Minister Birmingham said the Turnbull Government was acting quickly to address the urgent need for a skilled workforce to meet cyber industry needs and protect businesses and our economy from current and future cyber threats.

“This is about attracting more Australians to cyber security jobs by supporting the universities that are on the front line training up the cyber security professionals combatting the threats Australia faces now and into the future,” Minister Birmingham said. 

“The Turnbull Government’s $1.9 million ACCSE program will recognise universities which demonstrate a high level of cyber security education and training competency, research capability and strong connections to the business sector.

“Universities that are recognised as ACCSEs will help encourage more students to undertake studies in cyber security and increase the number of skilled graduates who are job-ready and needed to work in Australian business and government to tackle emerging cyber security challenges.” 

Minister Tehan said the initiative forms a key part of the Turnbull Government’s $230 million Cyber Security Strategy which addresses the dual challenges of the digital age—advancing and protecting Australia’s interests online.

“The new Centres will help build Australia’s capability by leading the way as cyber security training facilities,” Minister Tehan said.

“Cyber security skills are fundamental to the success and growth of Australia’s digital economy but like many other nations, Australia is suffering from a skills shortage in this field.

“The information security field is expected to see a worldwide deficit of 1.5 million professionals by 2020 while Australian companies predict that 17 per cent of cyber security positions advertised by their company would go unfilled by that same year.

“The ACCSEs will support research to address key cyber security challenges confronting the nation now and in the future and they’ll strengthen cyber security workforce training through greater awareness, risk management and technical training.”

The investment in the ACCSEs complements the Turnbull Government’s 2016 Defence White Paper which outlined an additional $400 million over the next decade to boost Australia’s cyber and intelligence capabilities and create around 800 specialist jobs. 

Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy is also supported by the Turnbull Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda and work to diversify the economy with new skills, access to new markets and to bring in new enterprise.

For more information on the application round visit the ACCSE web page. Applications close on 13 April 2017.