NSW strengthens digital workforce

The New South Wales Government has unveiled a suite of 19 new digital-focused courses to train ‘an army of cyber security, cloud computing and artificial intelligence experts’ at its Institute of Applied Technology (IAT).

The new facility, which will be located at Meadowbank, comes from a partnership between TAFE NSW, Microsoft, the University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University, to ‘turbocharge’ the take-up of digital skills across the state.

In June, the NSW Government announced a $108.5 million funding boost for applied technology institutes (IATs) to help address two critical areas of educational demand which included the digital technology.

The new IAT would open in February 2023 and will offer courses spanning artificial intelligence (AI), cyber security, cloud computing, machine learning and data analytics.

In addition to the 19 programs currently available, the IAT will release another 16 courses in time for Semester 2, 2023, the NSW Government said in a statement.

“These courses have been developed hand-in-glove with industry to meet current and emerging skill needs,” Minister for Skills and Training, Alister Henskens, said.

“At a time when cyberattacks are on the rise, this training will allow people to quickly build the skills we need for a strong and safe digital economy.”

Additionally, to meet this increasing industry demand, the IAT will offer a combination of flexible micro-skills and micro-credentials for new learners as well as current industry workers who require upskilling to maintain pace with the rapidly evolving sector.

Henskens said that Australia would need another 17,000 cyber professionals by 2026 and now was the time to “get the skills they need for jobs in cyber security, digital forensics, data engineering, machine learning, and more”.

According to Member for Ryde and Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government, Victor Dominello, learners will be able to stack multiple micro-credentials to create a nationally recognised certification, such as a diploma, advanced diploma, or count towards a degree with participating education partners.

“Ryde is being transformed into an education and employment powerhouse, and this revolutionary new training facility will help attract, retain and upskill local workers, which is a fantastic win for our community,” Dominello said.

The establishment of the IAT was a key recommendation from the review on the NSW vocational education and training (VET) sector, commissioned in 2002 by the NSW Government and led by professor Peter Shergold and David Gonski, to create an entirely new form of Australian tertiary institution.