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Microsoft NZ and TupuToa to boost diversity in cybersecurity sector

By Mitchell Hageman
Fri 27 May 2022

Microsoft NZ has teamed up with TupuToa to co-develop a cyber security employment programme specifically aimed at creating more diversity in Aotearoa's cybersecurity sector.

TupuToa is a social enterprise focused on growing Māori and Pacific leaders for a greater Aotearoa.

They will receive significant funding to work alongside partners, including Microsoft and other public and private sector organisations, to create cybersecurity training programmes for the country's Māori and Pacific Island communities. 

The announcement comes as the result of New Zealand being chosen as one of 23 countries to receive funding under a global initiative targeted at closing the cybersecurity skills gap. 

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

TupuToa and Microsoft say the programme will be designed to ensure participants are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to become security professionals.

Tauira in the programme will be supported in their training with integrated pastoral care from TupuToa, with opportunities to access further TupuToa programmes like work-readiness workshops and financial literacy training. 

In addition, TupuToa will also work with Microsoft and other tech partners to support trainees as they enter new roles.

Microsoft NZ managing director Vanessa Sorenson says as the cyber threat landscape evolves, there is a significant need for new professionals in New Zealand's cybersecurity industry.

"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 workforce shortage; there simply aren't enough people with the cybersecurity skills needed to fill open jobs in New Zealand. In fact, recent Microsoft research found demand for skills in the cyber security sector grew 22% in New Zealand last year alone."

TupuToa CEO Anne Fitisemanu says she is excited about the collaboration and says the organisation looks forward to providing a number of new pathways for Māori and Pasifika students.

"We're really excited to be the chosen partner with Microsoft on this mahi. We have a proven track record of providing training and experience to more than 1,000 Māori and Pacific Island peoples, and helping them take up and thrive in full time roles in technology," she says.

"With this new programme, we'll be able to offer even more tauira pathways into technology careers, and help make Aotearoa a safer place for all New Zealanders at the same time."

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