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DDLS, Australia’s largest provider of corporate ICT and cybersecurity training, today released the results of its 2020 survey ‘Staying ahead of the Technology Curve, Now and in the Future’. The survey shines the spotlight on current trends in the ICT training and certification space, and the key opportunities and challenges for delivering training to the market in the next few years.

Respondents were asked to describe their organisations’ proposed investment in ICT projects in the next 12 months, with 48% of respondents expecting an increase in spending in this area. When asked about their investment into ICT training however, only 34% of respondents expected an increase in spending. This data indicates there is an alarming gap between organisations’ expenditure on ICT projects, and their expenditure on training employees in ICT processes, exacerbating the existing critical skills shortage in some areas such as cloud computing and cybersecurity.

Looking at the overall picture of training priorities in Australian organisations, the most in-demand areas are currently IT Infrastructure and Networks (21%), Cloud Computing and Virtualisation (17%), and ITIL and DevOps (16%). Throughout the survey, it was clear that respondents also valued cybersecurity expertise, with 77% reporting cybersecurity awareness as ‘Extremely’ or ‘Very important’ to their business. Interestingly however, cybersecurity did not make the top three training investment areas – indicating that despite the Australian Government’s recently released 2020 cybersecurity strategy highlighting cybersecurity as a priority area for skills growth and flagging that boards and executives will likely be held accountable for cybersecurity risk management, Australian organisations are not focusing sufficient resources on skilling their workforce.

CEO of DDLS Jon Lang, says, “the survey data reinforces the existence of a huge skills shortage in Australia’s cybersecurity industry, with approximately 17,000 additional cybersecurity workers needed by 2026”, according to AustCyber. “Following the recent string of cyber-attacks on Australia and the government’s boost to cybersecurity funding, there exists an important opportunity for all organisations, regardless of their sector, to invest in cybersecurity training and certification for their staff,” added Lang.

Respondents were also asked about their preferred training formats. While respondents reported the most effective training method to be instructor-led training in the classroom, the survey found a growing interest in online training formats. 66% of respondents who currently opt for ‘Blended training’ (Mix of Instructor-led and Online training) said their training spend would move towards fully online training in the future.

The survey also revealed that one of the top barriers to accessing training was giving staff time out of the office (59%). This perceived barrier to training can be counteracted by online training formats, which often don’t require time out of the office and can be delivered remotely outside of office hours. The survey data presents an opportunity for training providers to introduce more online training formats in the future to ensure they satisfy students’ and organisations’ changing needs and requirements.

Importantly, 56% of respondents reported their employees attended at least 3 or more courses in the space of 12 months, indicating interest in ongoing training in many organisations, rather than one off certifications. “The survey data proves that certification is inherently valuable to organisations. Training providers will be responsible for ensuring Australia’s cybersecurity and ICT sectors have the right skills to support their growth,” added Lang. For in-depth analysis into the findings, along with the full survey data, the report can be downloaded here.

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