A new training programme to expand cybersecurity skills among information technology (IT) professionals in the West Midlands will be launched in August by CompTIA, the nonprofit trade association for the global technology industry, in cooperation with the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The Cyber Ready West Midlands programme is intended for individuals with some experience in IT and who have a desire to build their cybersecurity skills for a more advanced position, such as a cybersecurity analyst.
“The need for cybersecurity professionals and the vital skills they provide remains robust, even in the midst of the worst global pandemic in the last 100 years,” said Graham Hunter, CompTIA’s vice president for skills certification in EMEA. “In fact, certain types of cyber-attacks have increased in frequency during the pandemic. This is prompting more employers to strengthen their cyber defenses and recruit skilled personnel to secure data, devices and networks.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority, added: “The digital sector will play a critical role in our region’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown. We know there is a digital skills gap across all industries, and jobs in technology continue to be in high demand even during the lockdown.
“In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, sadly many people are going to fall out of work, but improving your digital skills is a great way of finding employment again quickly. It’s crucial that we upskill local people to prepare them for the jobs of the future, by funding high-quality digital training programmes like Cyber Ready West Midlands.”
Fifteen candidates will be selected to participate in Cyber Ready West Midlands. During the six-month programme they will have access to the latest industry-standard content on cybersecurity, via on-demand videos, virtual labs and adaptive questions to build their cyber skills. The learning will be supervised by trainers with real world experience in cybersecurity.
“The training regimen with be tough, with participants expected to commit to a minimum of eight hours per week for six months of training, study and review,” said Zeshan Sattar, director, learning and skills certification, CompTIA. “But if you enter the programme with a ‘can do’ attitude and take full advantage of the opportunities before you, you will be prepared to take a giant career leap.”
Candidates will have the opportunity to earn two professional certifications from CompTIA.
- CompTIA Security+is a globally recognized credential that validates the baseline skills needed to perform core cybersecurity functions.
- CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)signifies an IT professional’s ability to apply behavioral analytics to networks and devices to prevent, detect and combat cybersecurity threats.
Participants will also receive assistance to help them gain employment within a cyber security job role.
CompTIA’s analysis of data from Burning Glass Technologies Labour Insights shows that there were approximately 125,000 core IT job postings in the UK in the second quarter of 2020. That number was lower than the Q1 figure, mainly due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. But IT positions accounted for 12% of all job openings in Q2, up from 10% in Q1.
The Cyber Ready West Midlands programme is open to residents of the West Midlands Region – Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, and Wolverhampton. Applicants should have prior IT experience in a job role, as an apprentice or as a graduate with a tech degree. To submit an application, or to learn more about the programme, visit https://www.comptia.org/content/lp/cyber-ready.