New Zealand universities back micro-credentials as skills gap shortage grows in cybersecurity
Thought Leadership, Education
Global IT heavyweight, Cisco, is set to lead the growing cybersecurity skills gap shortage in New Zealand with early support from the tertiary sector and industry bodies.
Research released in collaboration with Victoria University of Wellington and The University of Waikato, reveals the successful global trend of micro-credentials being delivered across various tertiary levels and the exciting opportunities for New Zealand to follow suit.
To support the growing need for more cybersecurity experts, universities around the world are delivering micro-credentials through partnerships between industry and tertiary providers.
Now, this similar approach is being recognised and supported as a possible way forward for New Zealand.
“Education is ongoing in the IT world and micro-credentials provide an excellent way to upskill in highly specialised areas of technical knowledge, like cybersecurity,” Victoria University of Wellington, Head of School of Information Management, Dr Janet Toland said.
The research drew from global and New Zealand-focused insights with interviews conducted with cybersecurity academics, career and academic advisors, professional development directors and an IT services manager.
Globally, micro-credentials are delivered successfully through partnerships between industry providers and tertiary institutions with a trend toward credit-bearing postgraduate qualifications.
“It really does make sense for New Zealand universities to partner with organisations like Cisco to deliver these courses. We have the educational and research expertise and they have the state of the art technical knowledge to ensure what is offered is exactly what employers are looking for,” Dr Toland said.
The research reiterates the rapidly growing need for cybersecurity specialists with industry respondents in support of developing a system that will help fill that skills gap shortage.
Currently there are 226 employers in New Zealand and across the globe searching for educated candidates on Cisco’s Talent Bridge Matching Engine,and over 3,500 open opportunities.
The matching engine is a free tooldesigned to help businesses find and hire the right talent, with new employers and job opportunities posted daily.
Micro-credentials are likely to become increasingly valuable to tertiary students, Dr Toland said. “They enable students to quickly upskill in the areas that are most immediately relevant to their careers.
“At the moment there is a lot of interest at the postgraduate level. Mature students appreciate being able to access education in “bite sized chunks” to fit in with their busy lifestyles.”
As a leader in cybersecurity, Cisco are working to see this positioned as a national priority.
Cisco New Zealand, Country Director, Dave Wilson said, “This research has reaffirmed the significance of developing an approach that will support areas of national importance,like cybersecurity. Our vision is to work alongside government and education providers to help meet those skills shortages and the challenges facing the growing digital economy.”
Cisco’s commitment to education and skill development in this area remains central to its operations. This year Cisco celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Networking Academy - an IT skills and career building program available to learning institutions and individuals worldwide.
The program has reached 9.26 million students in 190 countries across the globe. In New Zealand, the Cisco Networking Academy has partnered with colleges, universities, vocational schools, public sector and nonprofits across the country and has enabled over 27,600 students to gain access to industry-relevant ICT skills.
“In an increasingly digital economy, there is unprecedented global demand for cybersecurity knowledge and skills. The Cisco Networking Academy’s Cybersecurity courses help to upskill individuals to build the workforce of tomorrow,” Mr Wilson said.
Over 490 students in New Zealand have undertaken Cisco cybersecurity courses to date.
Research insights in brief:
About Cisco’s Networking Academy
In 2018, Cisco celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Cisco Networking Academy, an IT skills and career-building program available to learning institutions and individuals worldwide.
In New Zealand, over the past 19 years, Cisco Networking Academy has partnered with colleges, universities, vocational schools, public sector and nonprofits across the country and has enabled over 27,600 students to gain access to Industry-relevant ICT skills.
Through these public-private partnerships, students from diverse and under-served backgrounds have had the opportunities to learn the skills needed for success in the digital economy.
88% of students in New Zealand obtained a Job and/or education opportunity through the Cisco Networking Academy in the last financial year.