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Microsoft NZ and TupuToa to boost diversity in cybersecurity industry

Microsoft NZ has partnered with TupuToa to co-develop a cybersecurity employment program specifically aimed at creating more diversity in Aotearoa’s cybersecurity sector.

TupuToa is a social enterprise focused on training Maori and Pacific leaders for greater Aotearoa.

They will receive significant funding to work alongside partners, including Microsoft and other public and private sector organizations, to create cybersecurity training programs for Maori and Pacific Islander communities across the country.

The announcement comes after New Zealand was chosen as one of 23 countries to receive funding as part of a global initiative to close the cybersecurity skills gap.

Microsoft’s funding also aims to target the increased risk to local businesses from cyber threats, as well as the need to address diversity within New Zealand’s cybersecurity industry.

TupuToa and Microsoft say the program will be designed to ensure participants have the knowledge and skills necessary to become security professionals.

Tauira in the program will be supported in his training with the TupuToa Integrated Pastoral Care, with opportunities to access other TupuToa programs like work readiness workshops and financial literacy training.

Additionally, TupuToa will also work with Microsoft and other technology partners to support interns as they step into new roles.

According to Vanessa Sorenson, Managing Director of Microsoft NZ, as the cyber threat landscape evolves, there is a significant need for new professionals in the cybersecurity sector in New Zealand.

“From supply chain disruptions to ransomware attacks, cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated and the threat landscape more diverse,” she says.

“These cybersecurity challenges are compounded by a labor shortage; there simply aren’t enough people with the cybersecurity skills to fill the vacancies in New Zealand. In fact, a Microsoft’s recent study found that the demand for skills in the cybersecurity industry grew by 22% in New Zealand last year alone.”

TupuToa CEO Anne Fitisemanu says she is excited about the collaboration and says the organization is looking forward to offering a number of new pathways for Maori and Pasifika students.

“We are truly delighted to be the partner of choice with Microsoft on this mahi. We have a proven track record of providing training and experience to over 1,000 Maori and Pacific Islanders, and helping them to assume and thrive in full-time roles in tech,” she says.

“With this new program, we will be able to offer even more Tauira pathways to tech careers and help make Aotearoa a safer place for all New Zealanders at the same time.”

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