BCIT and Cisco partner to skill the next generation of cybersecurity leaders
Monica FergusonBusiness Operations Health & Safety Preventative Maintenance Manufacturing British Columbia Institute of Technology Canadian organizations Cisco Canada cybersecurity infrastructure diploma program INC program Industrial Network Cybersecurity overcoming barriers real-world scenarios
A study from Cisco and Angus Reid shows that over a third (36 per cent) of Canadian organizations say they lack the talent to properly invest in cybersecurity infrastructure.
The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and Cisco Canada have partnered on the Industrial Network Cybersecurity (INC) Lab to address the global demand for cybersecurity talent.
The INC Lab for students in BCIT’s INC diploma program merges cybersecurity and industrial network skills with game-based learning and real-world scenarios. Taught alongside Cisco Networking Academy, students learn to defend against cyberthreats to industrial, manufacturing, and critical infrastructure organizations.
“The INC program is a direct response to the industry’s growing need for cybersecurity skills to protect critical infrastructure and keep our communities running,” said David Leversage, program champion, BCIT. “The INC Lab gives students an edge – they hone their skills using the same industrial controls and latest Cisco technology found in the real-world. There is no other institution in North America that offers this type of immersive experience, and our in-demand graduates can pursue high-paying jobs in one of the hottest job markets.”
Nearly two-thirds of Canadian businesses are struggling to find and hire the necessary talent with digital skills for their organizations. Of the 69 per cent of respondents planning to hire more staff, 24 per cent ranked cyber security as the top skill they’re looking to fill. In B.C. alone, eight in 10 job vacancies require skill training or post-secondary education.
“The financial impact of cybercrime is set to cost the world $10.5 trillion by 2025. As more of our infrastructure is digitized – utilities, petroleum, food supply systems and more – it is critical that we have the talent to protect our industrial networks from threats and attacks,” said Shannon Leininger, president, Cisco Canada. “Cisco is investing its resources and expertise to help governments and the public sector fuel digital skills training and secure a pipeline of cybersecurity leaders. Canada relies on these skilled professionals to keep our communities safe and productive, while building toward a more resilient future.”
The INC program has resulted in 100 per cent of graduates securing roles in relevant industries or pursuing further education. Overall student intake has doubled to 40 students, from the initial cohort of 20.