Networking giant Cisco plans to train 36 South African unemployed youths next year in cyber security, to help address the shortage of skilled workers in the space.
The company says it blocks over 20 billion threats for its clients every day. Cisco says the threats constantly change and evolve as cyber criminals come up with new ways to infiltrate businesses.
On top of these challenges, skilled professionals who are able to defend companies are in short supply, says Cisco.
“Cyber crime is now the fourth most reported economic crime in SA, with our economy reportedly losing R1 billion each year due to online criminal activities. Being breached is the new normal,” says Cathy Smith, Cisco Southern Africa MD.
“We are also aware that security is a business priority, with many executives feeling overwhelmed by the defender environment and citing certification and talent as two of the biggest constraints to adopting advanced products and solutions.”
This is why the company has partnered with NIL Learning Africa to launch a cyber security training programme.
The academy will be based in the company’s Johannesburg office. It will feature in-house training as well as experience within companies.
Karen Sharpe, director of the learning division at NIL Learning Africa, says the students will be placed in government and other Cisco partners for a few months to learn on the job, and hopefully be placed within the company after their training is done.
The course is worth between R60 000 and R70 000 per student, and the fees will be fully funded by MICT-SETA. Students will receive a monthly stipend and an internationally recognised certificate upon completion. The “Cisco Certified CCNA Cyber Ops certification” will be valid for three years.
The first intake will be for 36 unemployed youths with a matric certificate with maths and an IT subject. Unemployed candidates who have attended a college and completed a Comptia or similar entry-level IT short course will also be considered.
“South African organisations are looking to improve security engineering capabilities to prevent increasing attacks on their networks. This educational programme will help to address the security ICT skills shortage in the country,” says Sharpe.
The cyber security academy will also have an experience centre for public and private sector stakeholders to learn about the latest trends in cyber threats as well as expertise training in how to combat them.
The company says its training in the experience centre will be done in an interactive way using live ethical hacking demos, virtual reality and videos.
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