Development of a platform that provides foundation level cyber security training and career pathways information, for the neurodivergent community.
- Facilitated a cross-industry partnership between BHP, Splunk, DXC, Inside Sherpa, La Trobe University, Curtin University and Untapped in the interest of identifying and supporting talent in the neurodivergent community.
The AustCyber Projects Fund is a $15 million, three-year initiative designed to help the Australian cyber security industry grow and take ideas globally. Since launching in 2018, AustCyber has provided this funding to projects that are making a real contribution to growing Australia’s cyber security ecosystem, guided by the Sector Competitiveness Plan.
One of the participants in AustCyber’s Projects Fund was Untapped, who used their involvement in the Projects Fund program to develop a platform that provides foundation-level cyber security training and career pathways information, for the neurodivergent community.
A shortage of workforce talent in the cyber security sector is impacting Australia’s ability to grow and expand our cyber security industry and has created a financial barrier to building a capable workforce. Untapped Holdings saw this as an opportunity to help the industry and give those living with autism a chance to prove what they are capable of.
Many autistic individuals possess traits such as the following:
- Attention to detail
- Ability to focus on one thing for a long period of time
- Ability to identify patterns
- Good process mindset – the ability to systematise their thought process
- Systematic, logical, abstract thinking
- Curious, inquisitive, ‘detective style thinking’
- Ability to piece together evidence to build towards a bigger picture
- Integrity and honesty – ‘white hat’ mindset
Many of these traits also make for good cyber security analysts. This results in a huge opportunity to create awareness and educate a whole cohort of individuals who are currently unemployed or underemployed and try to create interest in the cyber security area where there is significant unmet demand for talent.
The solution was the ‘Genius Armoury’ platform – an online environment designed to identify and attract a previously untapped cyber security talent pool from within the neurodiverse community.
Genius Armoury comprises five modules:
- Introduction to cyber security
- Threats and exploits
- Digital forensics
A Genius Armoury completion certificate is provided once all the modules have been completed, and this can be included on a participant’s resume. Participants can then engage in the information available on the Genius Armoury platform about education and employment options, and pursue their next step.
The platform and its content were developed using a universal design and is accessibility compliant. This has resulted in a diverse range of individuals enrolling in the course.
As much as the platform was designed to enable neurodivergent individuals to commence education and a career in cyber security, it has also inspired neurotypicals who had not previously considered cyber security careers.
The benefit to Australia is an overall expansion of the potential talent pool that organisations can invest in to meet their future cyber security skills shortages.
“The Genius Armoury concept came from the realisation, through autism employment assessment workshops, that autistic individuals considering educational options and career paths have little understanding of the opportunities of a cyber security career.” - CEO of Untapped Holdings, Andrew Eddy
Untapped is an Australian organisation based in Melbourne. They have an extremely broad‐ based range of activities relating to autistic and neurodivergent employment. This ranges from pathways to employment and ongoing development once employed.
Untapped promotes a range of diverse activities globally, which includes the internationally recognised Neurodiversity Hub initiative.
Learn more about Untapped at their website.
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Find out more about the other projects involved with the AustCyber Projects Fund.