BCIT partners on training to help veterans upskill for cybersecurity careers

Protecting Canada’s critical infrastructure from cyberthreats demands a collaborative effort between government, academia, and industry. The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and Coding for Veterans have successfully launched Canada’s first Microcredential in Industrial Networking for Cybersecurity Professionals with support from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training and True Patriot Love Foundation. This new microcredential program supports veterans who have completed the Coding for Veterans’ IT Cybersecurity program in developing the needed operational technology skills essential to safeguard Canada’s critical infrastructure.

Power grids that distribute electricity to homes, railroads that help transport food supply, and cell towers that enable communications, are all industrial systems that are critical to supporting a country’s infrastructure. Increasing technology within these systems make the operations become targets of cyberattacks. The 2021 ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline that resulted in fuel shortages throughout the Eastern USA and the April 2022 cyberattack on Sunwing Airlines’ ticketing system resulting in many delayed and cancelled flights, are examples of the many cyberattacks towards industrial systems. As industrial cyberattacks continue to rise and have far-reaching consequences, the need for skilled industrial cybersecurity professionals is further amplified.

Many veterans have military security clearance and understand the need to protect Canada’s critical infrastructure. This makes veterans the ideal candidates to work on the frontline as cybersecurity professionals in defending Canada’s infrastructure. The Microcredential in Industrial Networking for Cybersecurity Professionals is an intensive, one-week program that is uniquely designed for Canadian veterans. Training takes place at the fully-interactive BCIT Industrial Network Cybersecurity Lab, and uses game-based theory. By working collaboratively, veterans are equipped with both the technical and soft skills needed to defend against cyberthreats to industrial, manufacturing, and critical infrastructure organizations.

The first cohort welcomed veterans from across Canada to train at BCIT. Veterans who completed the microcredential are job-ready to work in roles such as Industrial Network Technician, Industrial Network Specialist, and Industrial Cybersecurity Analyst.

The Microcredential in Industrial Networking for Cybersecurity Professionals is the first kind of its kind in Canada and supports in filling the skills gap in the cybersecurity industry. According to Deloitte, the world is anticipated to reach a cybersecurity workforce gap of 1.8 million by 2022, which is a 20% increase over the forecast made in 2015.

BCIT is planning to offer additional intakes of this microcredential throughout the year. Customizable training for organizations is also available. Interested veterans or organizations should contact Roger Gale.

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“BCIT has demonstrated success in partnering with government, industry, and non-profit organizations to build an agile workforce across sectors,” said Paul McCullough, BCIT Interim President. “The Microcredential in Industrial Networking for Cybersecurity Professionals exemplifies the strength of BCIT in providing innovative and collaborative solutions to support professionals, including veterans, in upskilling for in-demand jobs across Canada.”

“Canadian veterans have made significant sacrifice in protecting all of us, and many continue to do so after they retire from uniformed services. By offering microcredential trainings, we are working together to invest in students to get them future ready and attain the training they need to thrive in this changing economy,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “Since 2021, our government has invested $9 million to support public post-secondary institutions, such as BCIT, to develop and implement microcredentials that help British Columbians get the skills they need to fill high-demand jobs. This is just one of the many examples we have throughout the province.”

“The BCIT Microcredential in Industrial Networking for Cybersecurity Professionals creates a professional environment where the cyberskills taught within the Coding for Veterans’ 650-hour online program are aligned to industrial applications,” shared Patrick Shaw, Coding for Veterans Co-founder and Director of Academic Partnerships. “The participation of BCIT instructors and industry leaders from across Canada adds to the high regard students hold for the program. Students are also very appreciative of the collaborative role from True Patriot Love and the Province of British Columbia in enabling their attendance.”

“True Patriot Love Foundation is thrilled to provide funding for the British Columbia Institute of Technology and Coding for Veterans to support the training and skills development of Canada’s Veterans as they prepare for a new career in cybersecurity. We know that providing veterans with employment training to support their transition out of the military and into a civilian career is crucial to their long-term goals. True Patriot Love is proud to partner with these two incredible organizations to support those who served in uniform as they take the next step in their journey,” said Namita Joshi, Chief Program Officer, True Patriot Love Foundation.

About British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)

For nearly 60 years, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has been delivering flexible, relevant, and future-proof education that prepares learners to provide applied solutions to industry challenges. As one of BC’s largest post-secondary institutes with five campuses, 300+ programs, and over 45,000 students enrolled each year, BCIT connects education, industry, and government in building an agile workforce with sustained and meaningful impact. The BCIT curriculum is developed through close consultation with industry, and delivered by instructors who have direct, hands-on experience in their fields. Students gain the technical skills, real-world experience, and problem-solving ability needed to lead innovation in their workplaces and communities.  

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