An innovative new industry partnership will support Australia’s rapidly advancing technological landscape and boost national cyber security capabilities to meet one of the country’s most pressing national priority areas.

In support of retired defence personnel looking to retrain and reskill into civilian life, the University of Southern Queensland will collaborate directly with Veterans’ support organisation Soldier On and Fortune 500 global IT services provider DXC Technology, to design a bespoke undergraduate Bachelor of Cyber Security program supported through a one-year paid industry internship that will also offer industry credentials including IBM SkillsBuild.

The unprecedented and novel program is being designed to meet the needs of a national priority area and support the Australian Signals Directorate Strategic Plan that recently announced a $9.9 billion dollar investment over the next decade – the largest ever in cyber and intelligence capabilities in Australia’s history.

University of Southern Queensland Dean (Academic Transformation) Professor Lyn Alderman said the innovative, industry-led co-designed bespoke program ensured an equitable transition pathway from military service directly into industry for Veterans and would be specifically designed to support those with no prior experience in the Cyber Security space.

“The University is incredibly proud to bring a multi-faceted approach to a strategic, grassroots collaboration and industry cooperation to offer solutions to a number of national issues,” Professor Alderman said.

“In the first instance, there is a shortage of skilled workers in the cyber security industry, and it is evident that current conventional methods are unable to meet current and future demand, so it makes sense to work with industry partners who have the same aligned focus on helping to produce job ready graduates and deliver them directly to sectors in need.

“Further to that, actively building job opportunities for returned service men and women with recognition of their past Defence service, and supporting Australia’s national security capabilities, is something the University is committed to.”

Senior Executive of Cyber Security at DXC Technology and University of Southern Queensland Adjunct Professor Neil Curtis said the internship program would offer participants certified, industry operational, cyber security training.

“This will be accompanied by real-time on the ground cyber security employment in our live and operational cyber security business, and this includes our Defence, National Security and Government sectors as well as the infrastructure and business portfolios,” Adjunct Professor Curtis said.

“This hands-on experience with technical certifications will prime the Veteran for an ongoing career in cyber security across our business and the broader sector, and overall we will be very excited to welcome these military Veterans into the industry.”

Soldier On Interim CEO, Prudence Slaughter, said the long-term impact of providing equitable transition pathways from military service into industry could not be understated.

“Veterans possess a tremendously diverse skillset from their service experience. Education is a powerful tool for Veterans to advance these skills and their careers after service,” she said

“This collaboration will provide Veterans with valuable guidance in their transition to the civilian workforce and aid in enhancing the field of cyber security in Australia. Soldier On is delighted to see leading organisations working together for the betterment of our Veterans and we look forward to supporting this powerful initiative,” she said.

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