UNSW Canberra and Fortem Australia are working together to provide former first responders with new skills and the pathway to a new career.

Fortem was founded to assist first responders and their families with specialised wellbeing and mental fitness support, as well as assistance transitioning into post-service life.

Director Enterprise for the UNSW Institute for Cyber Security, Nigel Phair, said UNSW Canberra will provide training in cyber security to the participants, equipping them with skills in an ever-growing sector.

“The need for highly skilled people in the area of cyber is not going to go away. The sector continues to grow and there is a continuous demand for workers,” Mr Phair said.

“Transitioning first responders are the perfect candidates for this training. It is increasingly important that people are equipped with the skills required to adapt to the changing landscape – and we know that first responders appreciate this more than anyone.”

The five-week introductory course delivers a balance of the technical, practical and human aspects of cyber security. It will see Fortem’s Transition and Employment Program clients gaining skills in security that can help build expertise and talent in this space.

At the official launch on 21 February, Minister for Home Affairs, Karen Andrews, announced the partnership funded by the Department, welcoming the opportunity to help build Australia’s technology talent and close the gap between the supply and demand of highly skilled cyber security professionals.

“This is a gain for first responders seeking a career change, and aligns with the Federal Government’s aim to see a skills boost through micro-credentials in the post-COVID-19 recovery,” Ms Andrews said.

Fortem Managing Director and Co-Founder John Bale said ”there’s no off-switch for the people wired to safeguard our communities”.

“For those transitioning out of first responder roles on-the-ground, this is a great opportunity to further augment their robust skill set, while continuing to protect and serve their communities in a new career context,” he said.