Bridging the cloud security skills gap across Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand are riding a wave of innovation, but prosperity depends on having a strong population of technology professionals and workers with updated digital skills.

AWS is invested in helping to address our digital skills challenge. We announced that we have trained more than 200,000 people across Australia with cloud skills since 2017.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) released a study, Unlocking APAC’s Digital Potential: Changing Digital Skill Needs and Policy Approaches by strategy and economics consultants AlphaBeta.

The report found out that Australia critically requires an additional 6.5 million newly skilled and re-skilled digital workers by 2025, which is 79% more than we have today.

New Zealand’s Digital Skills Survey 2020 by NZTech revealed that Aotearoa requires 4,822 digitally skilled employees by 2022, an increase of more than 41% based on 2017 forecasts.

To continue to accelerate digital learning across the globe, we have launched AWS Skill Builder.

AWS Skill Builder is a digital learning experience available in more than 200 countries and territories, which provides free skills training to millions of people globally.

Anyone with the internet and a desire to learn can quickly and easily access over 500 free on-demand courses, including nearly 60 new cloud computing classes added last year.

AWS Skill Builder is designed to meet different learning goals and styles with some content offered up to 16 languages, including Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

The launch of AWS Skill Builder is part of Amazon’s investment of many millions of dollars to provide free cloud computing skills training to 29 million people globally by 2025.

Creating a culture of lifelong digital learning

The AlphaBeta report found there are four types of workers who will need to acquire digital skills by 2025; digital workers, non-digital workers, today’s students, and disenfranchised individuals (those who are unemployed or involuntarily excluded from the labor force).

Upskilling does not need to take months – it can be done in days and weeks through micro-credentials, small certification-style subject-focused study.

There is incredible untapped potential, particularly within the non-tech workforce to harness their existing skills and experience to advance in our communities and society at large.

Governments, employers and workers should commit to a culture of lifelong learning.

We are often delivering our digital skills programs through various partnerships with academic institutions and helping them to incorporate digital skills into their degrees.

We are collaborating with the University of NSW to create course materials for its CyberSECurity Education Network, a cyber security training course to help students develop cloud security skills as we know that demand for innovative and secure cloud services is growing.

Local solutions to local issues

Solving the digital skills challenge should start at the grassroots.

Amazon’s innovative AWS re/Start program prepares underemployed and unemployed individuals for careers in cloud computing through classroom-based training.

This program is taught by local training providers like Australian Indigenous training company Goanna Solutions and New Zealand’s largest tertiary education provider, Te Pūkenga.

Last year, AWS re/Start expanded across Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and New Zealand.

AWS re/Start has connected more than 90% of graduates with job interviews and helped Joe Howe get back into employment after he took a 5-year break to be a parent.

Through AWS re/Start, Joe received the latest training on cloud computing, helping him land a job at Itoc, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner that works on SaaS solutions.

Sazia Khan, another AWS re/Start graduate, retrained herself as a cybersecurity professional after COVID-19 lockdowns put a pause on her 10-year career in hospitality.

Khan said that she had an interest in IT stretching back to when she was growing up.

Now she is currently re-skilled in technology and cyber security while working as a senior security analyst at the global IT services and consulting company, Accenture.

For many, AWS re/Start provides the opportunity to get their technology careers on track.

New Zealand re/Start graduate Jocelynn Bourne completed a computer science degree after high school but found the prospect of getting a job in the industry daunting.

AWS re/Start gave her an overview of cloud computing and other networking opportunities.

A community-driven approach

At AWS, we are passionate about developing digital skills in regional communities.

In Queensland, we collaborated with the Sunshine Coast Council, TAFE QLD and Silicon Coast, to provide the community with free access to specialist digital skills training.

The Next Level courses help build new, job-ready skills in the areas of cloud computing, cyber security, and application and software development. The program is open to students, business owners, ICT professionals, and anyone interested in pursuing a technology career.

We are working hard to increase diversity in the IT industry.

Since 2019, the Amazon Web Services’ She Builds program has successfully run virtual events that help women start, pivot, or advance their careers in the tech industry.

She Builds’ mission is to bring together a diverse developer community that empowers women to build on the AWS platform and develop their technical skills.

Our efforts to bring more women into the tech industry received a further boost this year with the launch of SheDares, a free, online, interactive learning program.

SheDares was developed with the global diversity, equity and inclusion company, The Dream Collective to encourage women across ANZ to consider a career in technology.

This free online program leverages The Dream Collective’s strong network of emerging female leaders and features four online 45-minute self-paced modules.

The modules are focused on expanding perspectives, understanding transferrable skills, and equipping participants with pathways to build skills and find job opportunities.

More than 10,000 women have now completed the course across Australia and New Zealand.

Collaboration will drive our digital economy forward

We need to challenge the status quo and create the conditions for success where skills can be acquired in hours, and credentials acquired within days.

There is untapped potential for non-tech workers to develop digital skills, along with their existing experience and skills, to create incredible advancements in our communities.

Iain Rouse is the Director & Country Leader for Worldwide Public Sector in Australia & New Zealand for Amazon Web Services