How do we fix the worldwide Cybersecurity skills shortage?

Australia is facing a critical shortage of people trained in Cybersecurity. 

The Cybersecurity Workforce Alliance Australia is a partnership between the security community, industry, government and educational institutions across Australia.

Our aim is to bridge the skills gap as Australia's future could literally depend on it.

Allison Bridges - CWA Student Testimonial

Tom Connors - CWA and Deloitte (Mentor and Industry Sponsorship)

“The Cybersecurity Workforce Alliance has been able to expand to over 800 enterprise members, representing major financial institutions, consulting firms and Fortune 100 companies.”

Frank C. Cicio, Jr., Founder and CEO of iQ4 Corporation and co-founder, Cybersecurity Workforce Alliance (CWA)


For the academic institutions, the solution is turnkey, as an extra-curricular or in a curricular 3-credit course: 

The curriculum and syllabus have been designed by industry to meet its needs in workforce readiness. Being turnkey, it is ready to deploy on the iQ4 Applied Learning platform. The Platform can also adopt your customised learning content and courses to fit your needs. The students work in cyber-intern teams pursuing a real-world case study, with each student selecting a high-priority cyber-specific role. Their mentor and peer assessed progression is digitally badged within the Platform’s “Passport” – a transportable digital portfolio and persona.

Many CWA Alumni stay involved over multiple semesters taking additional modules or acting as “Workplace Peers” (Teaching Assistants) on courses for an additional 1-credit per course. Their incremental KSAs, experience and experience are captured in the Passport which serves as a living digital resume when job hunting or by employers for selection. The result is ‘KSA pollination’ designed to constantly improve the delivery of the program and the quality of the future workforce, as well as the exponential expansion of the program. This is our contributive pathways methodology.


For government, a standards-based proven model that helps protect the economy while delivering on government employability and skills agendas: 

By accelerating and scaling the supply of competent entry-level candidates, that cut 3-6 months out of on-boarding and training time, productivity and protection within employers and the economy is delivered earlier.

Metrics and Return on Investment: The data driven Platform captures the volume of cyber-interns passing through the course, along with their standard-based measured assessment to reveal progression and traceability into internships and jobs for the extraordinarily high ROI on investing in education via the CWA model.

Impacts and costs to the economy are cut, with the upside of a tax and prosperity dividend from jobs being retained or sourced from in-country, as well as innovation and international service sector income.


An organisation's greatest asset is its people.

The industry has three pathways to benefit: The CWA Applied learning approach for their next-generation workforce; the iQ4 enterprise platform for workforce risk and mobility or a combination of both. Combined, they create the world’s first standards-based supply chain for people, typically starting with cybersecurity, risk and resilience professionals and a culture of lifetime learning for internal mobility – with the internal hire being the cheapest.

Virtual internships/apprenticeships are economically scalable. They cast a wider net and level the playing field. By directly engaging industry in the education process of knowledge, skills and abilities development, the validation and verification in the digital Passport address the reliability and validity of degrees, KSAs and credentials. 

The industry-education partnership that replicates on-the-job training means we are preparing industry’s future employees with the essential employability skills they really need. In turn, it will assure that graduates are ready to productively contribute to cybersecurity teams on the day they are hired. By virtually extending the workplace into universities and TAFE’s, Australia can benefit from CWA “workforce readiness”, which has demonstrated a reduced post-hire training time by 3-6 months.


The iQ4 Applied Learning platform benefits students by augmenting their academic learning with Workplace Integrated Learning (WIL) knowledge, skills and experience from the Virtual internship/apprenticeships. WIL gained awareness reveals inspirational career pathways to attractive entry-level cyber jobs/careers even prior to graduation. Students are accelerated onto career trajectories that they never knew existed before the course.

The content for the CWA team-based challenge covers Cybersecurity Frameworks and core competencies e.g., knowledge, skills, and abilities, relating to the identification, detection, protection against, response to, and recovery from an “Insider Threat” including how to build and maintain communications with executives, peers and regulators developing the essential skills (e.g., teamwork, critical analysis and communications skills) which employers seek in their workforce. 

In 2014, iQ4 founded the Cybersecurity Workforce Alliance. 

By word of mouth alone, before any marketing or promotion, the CWA became viral. Initiated on Wall Street,  in January 2015, the CWA is now a cross-sector/community industry driven movement, which is scaling the next generation workforce supply by accelerating technology-risk and cybersecurity skills training. 

The Alliance has now expanded to over 800 enterprise members. Representing major financial institutions, consulting firms and Fortune 100 companies.

CWA members work closely to ensure the program continues to meet the needs of the industry, to deliver a workforce solution that is responsive to the challenges faced internationally.

Practicing cybersecurity experts from within the CWA member organisations act as mentors to the program students. In effect, each mentor has the opportunity to conduct a rolling semester-long interview through interaction with the students. As a result, industry cites a reduction in time to hire to productivity from six to nine months, to almost zero.

Beyond the classes we offer today, we also plan to explore specific concentrations in cyber at a more granular level: the company is currently working with another leading financial services firm on skills “load balancing” as well as employing Blockchain Technology for an iQ4 “skills score” and transcript. These concentrations in cyber subjects will lead to a cyber industry certification.

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