Partnership announced to address urgent cybersecurity skills shortage

 |   Microsoft New Zealand News Centre


Te Pūkenga joins with Microsoft, TupuToa and Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand to deliver much-needed cybersecurity training and apprenticeships  

Vocational education provider Te Pūkenga has joined Microsoft, TupuToa and Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand in a joint initiative aimed at filling the huge need for skilled cybersecurity experts in New Zealand, while boosting diversity. Te Pūkenga is currently developing a micro-credential in cybersecurity which it aims to put on offer in March 2023. The proposed offering will include on-campus and work-based experience, designed to pathway under-represented ākonga (learners) into entry level roles in cybersecurity in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

TupuToa, a social enterprise focussed on growing Māori and Pacific leaders for a greater Aotearoa, is partnering with Microsoft under a global initiative targeted at closing the cybersecurity skills gap. Together with Te Pūkenga and Te Whatu Ora, they co-developed a tailored cybersecurity education programme for all New Zealanders, reflecting inclusive values to make it more accessible to people of all cultures.  

Te Whatu Ora is ready to welcome up to 10 paid apprentices under the programme, which includes Microsoft certifications highly sought-after by employers. More organisations are set to follow. 

Across Aotearoa there has been 65 per cent growth in cybersecurity roles, while at the same time the number of people with cybersecurity skills has not increased. 

“The pandemic ramped up what was already an incredible rate of digitisation, and that spells huge opportunities for people looking for a career with great prospects. Cybersecurity isn’t just about technical skill – we need people who understand human behaviour, or who can teach vital safety skills. So we want to open those doors as wide as possible,” said Vanessa Sorenson, Managing Director, Microsoft New Zealand. 

Anne Fitisemanu, CEO of TupuToa, said the programme was designed to reflect the needs and experiences of all New Zealanders, applying the organisation’s experience of supporting Māori and Pacific Island peoples into careers. 

“Protecting sensitive data and privacy is difficult when you don’t have a true understanding of what that means to different people. Te Pūkenga has nationwide reach that can help more tauira into new career pathways, while making Aotearoa a much safer place to be,” she said.   

Te Pūkenga is Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest tertiary education provider, bringing together the country’s former Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics and Industry Training Organisations, to provide on-campus, on-the-job and online learning opportunities.  

“Cybersecurity isn’t just an IT issue – it’s vital to every sector. There’s strong demand for people to fill cybersecurity roles in industries from healthcare to agriculture, but not enough graduates coming through to meet the need. We’re very excited by the opportunity to partner with Microsoft and TupuToa to offer new study options,” said Dr Megan Gibbons, Deputy Chief Executive, Academic Centre and Learning, Te Pūkenga.  

The announcement has been welcomed by the Ministry of Social Development. 

“This programme provides an opportunity for people to upskill and move into skilled employment, and we are proud to be supporting Te Pūkenga with this new endeavour,” said Mark Goldsmith, Regional Commissioner for Auckland Central/East. 

While the programme is available to all, Māori and Pacific Island tauira will be further supported in their training with wraparound pastoral care from TupuToa, including access to further TupuToa programmes such as Kōkiri Workshops (work readiness workshops) and opportunities to access financial literacy training. This recognises the ongoing underrepresentation of Māori and Pacific Island peoples in the tech industry. TupuToa will also work with Microsoft and Te Pūkenga to support trainees into roles. 

Te Whatu Ora National Chief Information Security Officer, Sonny Taite, said he was looking forward to helping build information security teams who reflect the diversity of the Aotearoa health sector.  

“Tauira will earn while they learn, which opens up training opportunities to a much wider group of people. We will not only be providing apprenticeships but a direct pathway for rangatahi and anyone else wanting a change in career to advance into senior cyber security roles,” he said.  

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